Dual Trajectories of Gang Affiliation and Delinquent Peer Association During Adolescence: An Examination of Long-Term Offending Outcomes
Prior research has demonstrated that both adolescent gang affiliation and perceived delinquent peer association are important predictors of individual offending. A crucial question is whether and how youth gang affiliation contributes to a spectrum of criminal acts above and beyond the influence of associating with delinquent peers. Using 14 waves of data from the Rochester Youth Developmental Study, an ongoing longitudinal panel study aimed at understanding the causes and consequences of delinquency and drug use in an urban sample of adolescents, the current study employs a relatively new modeling technique—dual trajectory analysis—to illustrate the dynamic relationship between these two measures among 666 male youth. The results suggest that the two measures, while overlapping, may constitute distinct concepts that operate in different ways. The most convincing evidence of gang effects, above and beyond the influence of perceived peer delinquency, is for violent behavior and by extension police arrest. Our findings contribute to developmental research and provide information that informs future gang control efforts.
KeywordsGang membership Perceived peer delinquency Dual trajectories Life course Adolescence
Support for the Rochester Youth Development Study has been provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (86-JN-CX-0007), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA005512, R01DA020195), the National Science Foundation (SBR-9123299), and the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH63386). Work on this project was also aided by grants to the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at the University at Albany from NICHD (P30HD32041) and NSF (SBR-9512290). Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the funding agencies.
B. D. conceived of the study, performed the statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript. M. K. aided in interpretation of the results and revised the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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