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

NCJ Number
Journal of Research on Adolescence Volume: 24 Issue: 2 Dated: 2014 Pages: 220-234
Julia Dmitrieva; Lauren Gibson; Laurence Steinberg; Alex Piquero; Jeffrey Fagan
Date Published
June 2014
15 pages
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. (Publisher abstract modified)