Gang-Related Attitudes and Affiliations Among African American Youth: An Ecological Model

Adia S. Gooden*, Susan D. McMahon, Yan Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An array of individual and ecological factors promotes and detracts from gang involvement. Using a transactional-ecological framework, we test a theoretical model in which ecological and individual factors influence gang-related attitudes and affiliations. African American adolescents (N = 174), in 5th–8th grades, from two schools in a disadvantaged community, participated. Path analysis demonstrated the proposed model produced good fit with the data. Significant pathways suggest poverty is associated with less parental support, exposure to violence is associated with more gang-related attitudes and affiliations, and religiosity is associated with fewer gang-related attitudes and affiliations. These findings illustrate the importance of models including ecological and individual factors related to gang involvement and suggest ways to reduce societal problems associated with gangs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-730
Number of pages14
JournalViolence and Victims
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • exposure to violence
  • gangs
  • parental support
  • poverty
  • religiosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law


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