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NCJ Number: 204717 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Cumulative Exposure to Stressful Life Events and Male Gang Membership
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:March/April 2004  Pages:95-111
Author(s): David Eitle; Steven Gunkel; Karen Van Gundy
Date Published: March 2004
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
Grant Number: 5RO1DA10772
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined whether cumulative stress exposure in the form of negative life events is an independent predictor of gang membership in the context of other predictors for a cohort of South Florida boys.
Abstract: Data were analyzed for a 4-wave stratified random sample of 1,286 South Florida young adults who attended Miami-Dade public schools in the 1990's. This fourth of five scheduled data waves included self-reports from young adult respondents based on face-to-face interviews conducted in 1998-2000. Study participants were drawn from the total population of 9,723 male students scheduled to enter sixth and seventh grades in 1990, along with 669 female students. Follow-up questionnaires were administered when respondents were in the seventh/eighth and eighth/ninth grades. Gang membership was measured by asking respondents in the 1998-2000 interviews whether they were ever in a gang. A measure of gang association/behavior was also included. Preteen stress exposure was measured as a cumulative count of the number of different types of violent events, traumas, and other major adverse events that occurred in the respondents' preteen life. Five major aspects of the respondent's family were examined because of the established importance of the family as an inhibitor or generator of deviant youth activity. Other risk factors examined were self-derogation, early deviant activity, and early peer deviancy. Cumulative preteen stress exposure was not found to be a significant predictor of gang membership; however, the authors advise that the association between such exposure and gang membership might be mediated through other factors. A subsequent analysis of predictors of gang-oriented behavior found that preteen exposure to stress predicted gang orientation, independent of early deviance and early peer deviance. A measure that captured gradients of gang involvement was regressed on the predictors and exposed a similar pattern as the analyses of gang-oriented behavior, i.e., increased stress exposure was positively associated with increased gang involvement. The authors advise that these findings must be regarded as tentative due to research limitations identified. 6 tables, 9 notes, appended items used to construct measures of cumulative stressful events index, 9 notes, and 56 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Behavior under stress; Critical incident stress; Florida; Juvenile/Youth Gangs
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