Predictors and Consequences of Gang Membership: Comparing Gang Members, Gang Leaders, and Non–Gang-Affiliated Adjudicated Youth

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Dmitrieva, Julia
Gibson, Lauren
Steinberg, Laurence
Piquero, Alex
Fagan, Jeffrey
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2014
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Abstract

This 7-year study of 1,170 male adjudicated youth examined how self-esteem, psychopathy, and psychosocial maturity relate to gang status (low-level member, leader, and non-gang member). Low temperance, perspective, and responsibility predicted being a low-level gang member, whereas only lower temperance predicted being a gang leader. Low self-esteem predicted gang membership (low-level and high-level) at a younger age (i.e., during adolescence). However, higher self-esteem and grandiose-manipulative traits predicted being a gang leader during young adulthood. Over time, low-level members became more psychopathic and less psychosocially mature. Gang leaders also became more psychopathic and undercontrolled (as indicated by lower temperance); however, their perspective and responsibility aspects of psychosocial maturity were not affected.

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Journal of Research on Adolescence

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24

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2

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Causes and prevention of crime

Social work

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