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Negative effects of joining a gang last long after gang membership ends
Date:3/13/2014

but showed a similar propensity for doing so, so that the only difference between the two groups was gang membership. The average age of joining a gang was just under 15 years old. No one in this study reported joining a gang after the age of 19, and the majority (60 percent) were in a gang for three years or less.

The 23 variables used to match the groups included individual factors such as antisocial beliefs, alcohol and marijuana use, violent behavior and hyperactivity; family factors such as poverty, family structure, sibling behavior and parent pro-violent attitudes; school factors such as academic aspiration and achievement; neighborhood factors such as the availability of marijuana and neighborhood kids in trouble; and whether the child associated with friends who engaged in problem behaviors. Researchers measured three areas of adult functioning at age 33: illegal behavior, education and occupational attainment, and physical and mental health.

Those who joined a gang in adolescence were nearly three times more likely between ages 27 and 33 to report committing a crime, more than three times more likely to receive income from illegal sources, and more than twice as likely to have been incarcerated in the previous year.

Former gang members also were nearly three times more likely to have drug-abuse issues, were almost twice as likely to say they were in poor health, and twice as likely to be receiving public assistance. They were also half as likely to graduate from high school.

Gilman hopes the study will motivate schools and communities to develop and implement research-based strategies to prevent children from joining gangs, in the hopes of not only reducing crime, but increasing graduation rates and reducing physical and mental health costs.

Hill said everyone can be involved in gang prevention in their own way, by reducing the 23 variables shown to be risk factors. "If you're a parent, manage your family well.
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Contact: Amanda Gilman
abg5@uw.edu
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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