Examining social-ecological correlates of youth gang entry among serious juvenile offenders: A survival analysis

Gabriel J. Merrin, Jordan P. Davis, Katherine M. Ingram, Dorothy L. Espelage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Decades of research have categorized risk and protective factors for youth gang involvement in social contexts that include individual, family, peer, school, and community factors. However, most studies are cross-sectional and only examine 1 or 2 social-ecological contexts. This study, which used a time-to-event model with time-variant and time-invariant predictors, adds to this literature by using longitudinal social-ecological factors to examine increases in the hazard of gang entry among serious juvenile offenders followed for 7 years during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. Lower socioeconomic status (SES), higher rates of exposure to violence, self-reported offending, and time spent in jail were associated with higher hazards rates of gang entry. Temperance (suppression of aggression and impulse control) was associated with decreases in the hazard of gang entry. Among family characteristics, higher parental hostility and having a father who had been arrested were associated with increases in the hazard of gang entry. Resistance to peer influence was a protective factor for gang entry. In addition, individuals who reported associating with delinquent peers or who had a higher proportion of friends who had been arrested had significant increases in the hazard for gang entry. School orientation was a significant protective factor, and neighborhood disorganization was associated with increases in the hazard for gang entry. Strategies for early intervention and prevention efforts are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-632
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume90
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Juvenile offenders
  • Social-ecological model
  • Time-to-event model
  • Youth gangs

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