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Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence 4/2016

09-01-2016 | Empirical Research

Dual Trajectories of Gang Affiliation and Delinquent Peer Association During Adolescence: An Examination of Long-Term Offending Outcomes

Auteurs: Beidi Dong, Marvin D. Krohn

Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence | Uitgave 4/2016

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Abstract

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.
Voetnoten
1
We recognize that there is debate on the level of organization or structure associated with youth gangs. For example, studies in a growing number of cities show that “gangs are generally loosely organized groups that are constantly changing—consolidating, reorganizing, and splintering” (Howell 2012, p. 32). We thus propose this argument as one of the several possible mechanisms through which gangs may uniquely contribute to crime and delinquency; this is not a necessary or sufficient reason.
 
2
“The matched group of non-members actually reports having a significantly greater number of delinquent peers than do the gang members” (Thornberry et al. 2003, p. 147).
 
3
Several studies have included peer delinquency as a covariate when calculating a propensity score of gang participation (e.g. Ariza et al. 2014; Gilman et al. 2014; Pyrooz 2014a).
 
4
As a robustness check, we also ran analyses when the incarcerated respondents were included. The same substantive findings were observed.
 
5
As a robustness check, we also created a frequency score for violence. The same substantive findings were observed.
 
6
It is worth mentioning that the model selection process is not a purely statistical practice. “There is no correct model. Statistical models are just approximations” (Nagin 2005, p. 77). Nagin’s recommendation is to select a model with no more groups than is necessary to communicate the distinct features of the data.
 
7
To guard against local solutions in the estimation of growth mixture models, we estimated trajectory models using multiple sets of starting values (Hipp and Bauer 2006).
 
8
Consistent with Nagin and Tremblay (2001), we indeed observed that “trajectories emerging from joint estimation differ little from their univariate counterparts” (p. 26).
 
9
We excluded G2 subjects from the outcome analysis if they have missing information regarding the outcome variables, although criminal outcomes at wave 14 were included in the imputation model. We found no statistically significant differences between the analysis sample (N = 502) and those not included in the analysis with respect to membership of gang affiliation and delinquent peer association trajectories, race/ethnicity, academic aptitude, risky time with friends, parental supervision, aggression, self-esteem and prior delinquent acts. However, those not included in the analysis sample were slightly older, experienced lower levels of depression and higher levels of family poverty.
 
10
Following the suggestion of Helgeson et al. (2004), higher order terms are removed from the model if they fall short of statistical significance.
 
11
It is worth pointing out that multicollinearity is not a concern in the outcome analysis. The VIF scores are below 2.35 for all included variables.
 
12
In these two models, the posterior probabilities defining peer delinquency group membership do not have a jointly significant relationship with violence or arrest (Nagin and Tremblay 1999).
 
13
We observed that for the “early adolescence” trajectory of gang affiliation, its incidence rate ratio (IRR) increased from 1.967 in Table 3 (not significant) to 3.990 in Table 4 (significant), whereas for the “late adolescence” trajectory, its IRR decreased from 3.100 in Table 3 (significant) to 2.193 (not significant).
 
14
It is worth pointing out that we did not perform a formal test of discriminant validity in the current study. See Young et al. (2015) for a detailed discussion on how to use measurement models to examine discriminant validity of related constructs.
 
15
At the present time, only a handful of gang programs have acceptable scientific evidence of effectiveness in preventing or reducing gang activity; the effect sizes of these programs are small (Howell 2012; Klein and Maxson 2006).
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Dual Trajectories of Gang Affiliation and Delinquent Peer Association During Adolescence: An Examination of Long-Term Offending Outcomes
Auteurs
Beidi Dong
Marvin D. Krohn
Publicatiedatum
09-01-2016
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Journal of Youth and Adolescence / Uitgave 4/2016
Print ISSN: 0047-2891
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-6601
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-016-0417-2