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Risk Factor Handout - Essay Example

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Risk indicators and factors for identifying at-risk youths for gang membership include individual risk factors, family risk factors, school risk factors, peer group risk factors, and community risk factors.
Individual risk factors include conduct disorders such as drug use (Thornberry et al., 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004), delinquency (Thornberry et al., 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004), early dating (Wyrick and Howell, 2004), and precocious sexual activity (Wyrick and Howell, 2004), early violence, antisocial beliefs, early drinking, externalizing behaviors, and poor refusal skills (Hill et al., 2001)…
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Risk Factor Handout
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Introduction Risk indicators and factors for identifying at-risk youths for gang membership include individual risk factors, family risk factors, school risk factors, peer group risk factors, and community risk factors.
Individual Risk Factors
Individual risk factors include conduct disorders such as drug use (Thornberry et al., 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004), delinquency (Thornberry et al., 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004), early dating (Wyrick and Howell, 2004), and precocious sexual activity (Wyrick and Howell, 2004), early violence, antisocial beliefs, early drinking, externalizing behaviors, and poor refusal skills (Hill et al., 2001). Individual risk factors also include circumstances like negative life events, including failing a course at school, being suspended or expelled from school, breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, having a big fight or problem with a friend, and the death of someone close (Thornberry et al., 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004)
Family Risk Factors
Main family risk factors for gang membership include the family structure (e.g., broken home), family poverty, child abuse or neglect, gang membership of family members (Howell, 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004), sibling antisocial behavior, and parental attitudes favoring violence (Hill et al., 2001). Poor family management, including poor parental supervision (monitoring) and control of children, is also a risk factor of gang membership (Hill et al., 1999 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004; Le Blanc and Lanctot, 1998 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004; Thornberry, 1998 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004; Thornberry et al., 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004).
School Risk Factors
One of the most influential school-related risk factors for gang membership is low achievement in school, especially at the elementary level (Hill et al., 1999 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004; Le Blanc and Lanctot, 1998 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004; Thornberry et al., 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004). Low achievement in school is related to low academic aspirations, a low degree of commitment to school, teachers' negative labeling of youth (Howell, 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004) and a low degree of attachment to school (Hill et al., 2001). At-risk youths for gang membership also have problems with truancy (Lahey et al., 1999 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004). Another school-related risk indicator for gang membership is feeling unsafe at school (Gottfredson and Gottfredson, 2001 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004).
Peer Group Risk Factors
Association with peers who engage in delinquency is one of the strongest risk indicators for gang membership (Thornberry et al., 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004). Association with aggressive peers, regardless of whether they are involved in delinquency during adolescence, also is a circumstance that is considered at-risk for gang membership (Howell, 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004).
Community Risk Factors
The availability of drugs, the presence of many neighborhood youth who are in trouble, youth's feelings of being unsafe in the neighborhood, low neighborhood attachment, low levels of neighborhood integration, area poverty, and neighborhood disorganization (i.e., low informal social control), and the presence of gangs in the neighborhood are circumstances that are considered most at-risk for gang membership (Howell, 2003 as cited in Wyrick and Howell, 2004).
The below is a pictorial representation of a profile of behaviors and circumstances that are considered at-risk for gangs.
Works Cited
Gottfredson, G.D., & Gottfredson, D.C. (2001). Gang problems and gang programs in a national sample of schools. Ellicott City, MD: Gottfredson Associates.
Hill, K.G., Howell, J.C., Hawkins, J.D., & Battin-Pearson, S.R. (1999). Childhood risk factors for adolescent gang membership: results from the Seattle Social Development Project. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 36(3), 300-322.
Hill, K.G., Lui, C., & Hawkins, J.D. (2001, December). Early precursors of gang membership: a study of Seattle youth. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 1-5. Retrieved September 11, 2006, from National Criminal Justice Reference Service Web site: http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/190106.pdf#search=%22predictors%20gang%20membership%22
Howell, J.C. (2003). Youth gangs: prevention and intervention. In P. Allen-Meares and M.W. Fraser (Ed.), Intervention with children and adolescents: an interdisciplinary perspective (pp. 493-514). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Lahey, B.B., Gordon, R.A., Loeber, R., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., & Farrington, D.P. (1999). Boys who join gangs: a prospective study of predictors of first gang entry. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 27(4), 261-276.
Le Blanc, M., & Lanctot, N. (1998). Social and psychological characteristics of gang members according to the gang structure and its subcultural and ethnic makeup. Journal of Gang Research, 5(3),15-28.
Thornberry, T.P. (1998). Membership in youth gangs and involvement in serious and violent offending. In R. Loeber and D.P. Farrington (Ed.), Serious and violent juvenile offenders: risk factors and successful interventions (pp. 147-166). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Thornberry, T.P., Krohn, M.D., Lizotte, A.J., Smith, C.A., & Tobin, K. (2003). Gangs and delinquency in developmental perspective. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Wyrick, P.A., & Howell, J.C. (2004). Strategic risk-based response to youth gangs. Juvenile Justice Journal, 9(1), 20-29. Read More
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