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Parenthood as a Turning Point in the Life Course for Male and Female Gang Members: a Study of Within-Individual Changes in Gang Membership and Criminal Behavior

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 55 Issue: 4 Dated: October 2017 Pages: 869-899
David C. Pyrooz; Jean Marie McGloin; Scott H. Decker
Date Published
October 2017
31 pages
Based on the analysis of a sample of 466 male and 163 female gang members from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997, this study analyzed the within individual relationship between changes in parenthood and changes in claiming gang membership and offending.
The impact of parenthood on leaving a street gang is not well understood. This is likely because researchers in prior studies have not accounted for multiple dimensions of gang exit, possible gender differences, and potential selection bias. Data from the current study, however, focused on gender differences and birth parity (i.e., first or second child). The results from a series of fixed effects models found that motherhood was associated with enduring reductions in both the odds of claiming gang membership and the rate of offending; whereas, fatherhood has a temporary beneficial impact on gang membership and offending only for those fathers who resided with their children. In most cases, the beneficial effect of having a child was related to becoming a parent for the first time. Overall, the study's findings indicate that parenthood serves as a turning point for a particular group of noteworthy offenders gang members. (publisher abstract modified)