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NCJ Number: 208870 Find in a Library
Title: Youth Gangs and Troublesome Youth Groups in the United States and the Netherlands: A Cross-National Comparison
Journal: European Journal of Criminology  Volume:2  Issue:1  Dated:January 2005  Pages:5-37
Author(s): Finn-Aage Esbensen; Frank M. Weerman
Date Published: January 2005
Page Count: 33
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compared various characteristics of American and Dutch gangs and gang members.
Abstract: While research on gangs has been relatively prevalent in the United States, such research has only been periodic in other nations. As troublesome youth gangs begin to pervade other countries, policymakers must rely on research from the United States to begin to understand how to deal with the problem. The current study sought to add to the international literature on gangs by conducting a comparative analysis of gangs and gang members in America and in the Netherlands. Participants were 5,935 American youth and 1,978 Dutch youth ages 11 through 16 years who completed anonymous, self-administered questionnaires containing similar questions. Questions probed gang membership, demographic information, attitudes about parental monitoring, impulsivity, and risk-taking and delinquent behavior. Results indicated that 6 percent of the Dutch sample and 8 percent of the American sample were gang involved. Perhaps even more interesting was the finding that Dutch and American gang members resembled one another, particularly in terms of the risk factors associated with numerous adolescent problem behaviors. The illegal activities of the Dutch and American gang members were also similar. Only the gang members description of the gang differed based on nationality. Dutch gangs appeared to be both smaller and more loosely organized than the American gangs. Given the similarities noted in gang members, it is impossible for European nations to continue to deny the existence of gangs in their countries. Future research should continue to probe the differences discovered in “gangs” of different countries. Tables, appendix, references
Main Term(s): Comparative analysis; Gangs
Index Term(s): Gang member attitudes; Netherlands; United States of America
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