Justice Quarterly Volume: 28 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 838-862
This paper examines the impact of gang membership exposure to violence, and violent behavior on first time gun carrying by minority youth living in extreme poverty.
Two waves of longitudinal data from a high-poverty sample of minority youth living in extreme poverty was used to determine if the nexus (or intersection) of gang membership T1, exposure to violence T1, and violent behavior T1 is a precursor of first time gun carrying T2. The findings indicated a significant amount of overlap between gang membership, exposure to violence, and violent behavior. The multivariate findings also revealed that: (1) the effect of exposure to violence T1 on initiation of gun carrying T2 became non-significant after controlling for gang membership T1 and violent behavior T1; and (2) only 1.8 percent of youth were part of the nexus of gang membership T1, exposure to violence T1, and violent behavior T1, but they were 665 percent more likely to initiate gun carrying T2. The theoretical and policy implications of the findings for the prevention of youth gun violence as well as areas for future research are also discussed. (Published Abstract)
United States of America