skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 148898 Find in a Library
Title: Aleatory Risks Versus Short-Run Hedonism in Explanation of Gang Action
Journal: Social Problems  Volume:12  Dated:(1964)  Pages:127-140
Author(s): F L Strodtbeck; J F Short Jr
Date Published: 1964
Page Count: 14
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the motivation of male gang members to expose themselves to the risk of serious incidents arising from delinquent activity; a model is presented that explains motivation in terms of striving for group status rather than class mobility.
Abstract: The motivation issue was explored by analyzing parenthood among gang members of a group known as the Chiefs. Illegitimate fatherhood was conceptualized as an outcome of several distinct behavior components. The area where the Chiefs operated was characterized by high physical deterioration, juvenile and adult crime, drug trafficking and use, and illegitimacy. The motivation issue was also studied for a group referred to as Duke and the King Rattlers. This gang had a reputation for conflict and also engaged in strong-arming and other illegal means of acquiring money. In general, selected lower class values emphasized by street gangs increased the destructive potential of gang behavior. Guns tended to be valued as defensive wepaons but were sometimes used offensively. Public drinking produced episodes of violence with short- lived demonstrations of toughness. The uneven quality of street corner relationships caused tension between unmet needs to affiliate and fear of involvement in serious incidents. Gang members seemed to distrust all persons outside their circle of intimate associates. Males with "scoutish" self-descriptions were more involved in conflict than males who described themselves as cool, aggressive, or athletic. The authors conclude that gang involvement in delinquent activities is not satisfactorily explained by deviant values or neurotic or irrational tendencies. Rather, three parties affect a given action situation: gang, society, and individual. 18 footnotes, 1 table, and 1 figure
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Gang Prevention; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Male juvenile delinquents; Motivation; Violence causes; Violent juvenile offenders
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.