Gang affiliation, aggression, and violent offending in a sample of youth offenders
Gang affiliation, aggression, and violent offending were examined in case files of 390 youth offenders aged between 16 and 18 years. Results indicated that youth offenders who were gang members and those who were not gang members but exposed to friends in gangs had a significantly higher likelihood of violent offending compared with a reference group of youth offenders who had neither gang affiliation nor friends in gangs. Additionally, youth offenders who had friends in gangs but were themselves not gang members had a lower likelihood of violent offending than youth offenders who were gang members. Finally, results showed that a history of aggressive behavior was significantly associated with violent offending. Implications such as the need to address the influence of delinquent peers and need to address the management of anger and aggression in youths will be discussed. Also, findings point towards the need for prevention and early intervention work.
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