Is the Nexus of Gang Membership, Exposure to Violence, and Violent Behavior a Key Determinant of First Time Gun Carrying for Urban Minority Youth?

Richard Spano*, John M. Bolland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

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% of youth were part of the nexus of gang membership T1, exposure to violence T1, and violent behavior T1, but they were 665% 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-862
Number of pages25
JournalJustice Quarterly
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

Keywords

  • exposure to violence
  • gang membership
  • gun carrying
  • urban minority youth
  • violent behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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