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Gang Youth, Risk Behaviors, and Negative Health Outcomes

  • Bill Sanders
  • Avelardo Valdez
  • Geoffrey P. Hunt
  • Karen Joe Laidler
  • Molly Moloney
  • Alice Cepeda
Chapter

Abstract

Gang youth have been a perennial issue with criminologists for nearly a century. Much evidence suggests that something about participation within a gang leads youth to commit more crime when compared to non-gang youth. Gang youth are at an increased risk of arrest and incarceration for serious offences in comparison to other delinquent youth. Gang youth also are more likely to report participation in what are described as ‘health risk behaviors’, which include substance use, violence, and unsafe sexual practices. Consequently, gang youth are at an elevated risk of exposure to the negative health outcomes related to such behaviors, including addiction, overdose, infection, injury, disability, and death. This chapter offers data gathered in three cities over a 20-year period to provide a descriptive epidemiology of substance use, violence and unsafe sexual practices among gang-identified youth. We conclude with a discussion on how public health approaches towards other high-risk categories of youth could compliment current criminal justice efforts aimed at curbing the influence or impact of youth gangs.

Keywords

Risky Sexual Behavior Sexual Victimization Gang Member Sexual Initiation Unsafe Sexual Practice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bill Sanders
    • 1
  • Avelardo Valdez
    • 2
  • Geoffrey P. Hunt
    • 3
  • Karen Joe Laidler
    • 4
  • Molly Moloney
    • 5
  • Alice Cepeda
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Criminal Justice and CriminalisticsCalifornia State UniversityLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Centre for Alcohol and Drugs ResearchUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark
  4. 4.Centre for CriminologyUniversity of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong
  5. 5.Institute for Scientific AnalysisAlamedaUSA

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