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Cross-National Comparison of Externalizing Behaviors among High-Risk Youth and Youth Gang Members in Metropolitan Boston, Massachusetts, and San Salvador, El Salvador

NCJ Number
Victims and Offenders Volume: 6 Issue: 4 Dated: October - December 2011 Pages: 356-369
Rene Olate; Christopher Salas-Wright; Michael G. Vaughn
Date Published
October 2011
14 pages
This study examined and compared the relationships between gang membership and externalizing behaviors among youth in San Salvador, El Salvador, and Boston, MA.
Youth interventions often focus on high-risk youth; however, little is known about the similarities and differences of these youth cross-nationally. This study examines externalizing behaviors of youth in Boston (n = 374) and San Salvador (n = 208) and compares several domains. Results reveal significant differences between populations; Salvadoran youth exhibited higher rates of violence and delinquency, marijuana use, and unprotected sex. Similarities were found for school attendance and school dropout levels, employment, alcohol use, and sexual activity. Findings indicate that youth gang members may face a higher intensity of externalizing risk behaviors. These findings have implications for interventions and policies. (Published Abstract)