نقش بزهکاری، پرخاشگری کنشی، اختلالات فکری و روانی و تعامل مدرسه رفتاری در گزارش اعضای گروه جوانان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|34388||2015||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||5800 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Adolescence, Volume 41, June 2015, Pages 148–156
Given the robust positive association between gangs and crime, a better understanding of factors related to reported youth gang membership is critical and especially since youth in gangs are a universal concern. The present study investigated the role of delinquency, proactive aggression, psychopathy and behavioral school engagement in reported youth gang membership using a large sample of 1027 Singapore adolescents. Results from logistic regression showed that delinquency, proactive aggression, and behavioral school engagement were statistically significant risk factors for reported youth gang membership, and that psychopathy was not related to reported gang membership. Implications for prevention and intervention work with respect to youth gang membership were discussed. In particular, strengthening students' engagement with school and meaningful school-related activities and developing supportive teacher–student relationships are particularly important in working with young people with respect to prevention work. Additionally, the present study's theoretical and empirical contributions were also discussed.
Youths involved in gangs are a universal concern because of the disproportionate number of serious and violent offenses associated with these individuals (Curry et al., 2002, Curry et al., 2013 and White and Mason, 2006). In the United States, there has been an exponential growth of youth gang activity across various cities since 1990, and researchers have suggested that prevalence rates of youth gang membership vary between 2% and 37% (Klein and Maxson, 2006 and Thornberry et al., 2003). There is an extensive body of research documenting the problems posed by youth gangs in the United States; in particular, the gang-crime relationship is well documented (Thornberry et al., 2003). Beyond issues related to offending, the burden on society is also very high taking into consideration economic, social, mental health, criminal justice and other related costs (Durlak, 1997). Similar concerns related to youth gangs have been reported internationally. Gatti, Haymoz, and Schadee (2011) reported that across 30 countries, the deviant youth gang involvement prevalence rates ranged between 0.4% and 17%. White and Mason (2006) examined the problem of youth gangs in Perth, Australia, and found that youth gang members accounted for a far greater proportion of criminal acts in comparison to non-gang members. Additionally, the likelihood of gang members being involved in a fight recently was five times that of non-gang members. Likewise, Pyrooz and Decker (2013) found that gang involved youths in China report a higher tendency to engage in delinquency than their non-gang counterparts. In Singapore, youths can come together to form what they freely term as ‘gangs’ (Singapore Police Force, 2010). Like secret societies, youth gangs in Singapore usually adopt a Hokkien-dialect or numeric names and have unique passwords, tattoos, and hand signals that their members use (Subordinate Courts, 1998). Even though youth gangs in Singapore mimic secret societies in some ways, they are also different in some other respects; for example, they tend to be far more loosely organized in terms of hierarchy and structure, and may not follow the traditional initiation rights and rituals that are more definitive of triads and secret societies. Because of the restriction on use of firearms and guns in Singapore, gang participation in fights and rioting are more common. Therefore, the Singapore Police Force views rioting cases as an estimated gauge of gang violence and prevalence (Parliament of Singapore, 2010). A report from the Singapore Police Force stated that between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of rioting cases that were gang-related averaged at around 30% (Parliament of Singapore, 2010). Taken together, given the well-established positive association between gangs and crime internationally, a deeper understanding of factors related to youth gang membership is not only timely but crucial. There is a rich body of work highlighting links between delinquency and a related cluster of characteristics on the one hand and gang membership on the other. Recent reviews have shown that across international boundaries, consistent findings have emerged suggesting that youths who belong to a gang have intensified delinquency as compared to youths who are not involved in gangs (for reviews please see O'Brien et al., 2013 and Wong et al., 2013). Two studies will be highlighted here to illustrate this. Curry et al. (2002) for example, surveyed youths from middle schools in St. Louis during 1995–1996 with respect to self-reported delinquency and self-reported gang membership. Additionally, these researchers also examined official delinquency records of their study sample. Findings showed that 65% of gang members reported to have used violence against another individual compared to the 25.4% reported by youths who were not involved in gangs. It was also reported that 48.8% of gang members had official records of delinquency compared to 24.9% of non-gang members. Overall, Curry et al.'s results indicated that there was a strong and positive association between both self-reported and officially recorded delinquency and gang involvement. In a different study, Gordon et al. (2004) examined longitudinal data of 858 participants from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, collected over a period of 10 years. These researchers studied delinquent behavior before, during, and after gang membership, across gang members and non-gang members, and controlled for trends associated with age and time. Gordon et al. found that youth gang members in comparison to non-gang members not only had higher rates of delinquency prior to entering gangs, but these levels of delinquency also increased during the period of active gang membership. Therefore, there is robust empirical evidence documenting a strong link between delinquency and gang involvement. Besides delinquency, there are other related characteristics such as aggression and psychopathy that have been implicated in youth gang membership. With respect to aggression, researchers have drawn the distinction between proactive and reactive aggression with each typology having distinct motivations. Proactive aggression has been described as instrumental, calculated, and motivated by external reward while reactive aggression has been described as impulsive and a hostile reaction to provocation (Dodge & Coie, 1987). The collective body of work on proactive and reactive aggression appear to suggest that in particular, proactive aggression rather than reactive aggression is related to the perpetration of antisocial acts such as drug and property crimes and bullying (e.g., Miller & Lynam, 2006). We had previously reviewed that there is a strong and robust relationship between delinquency, crime, and gang involvement (Curry et al., 2002, O'Brien et al., 2013 and Wong et al., 2013). Consistently, research studies have shown that gang-affiliated youth were found to be more likely to hold criminal attitudes, attitudes supportive of violence, and positive attitudes towards gangs (Anderson and Huesmann, 2007 and Chu et al., 2014). In a related body of work, Ragatz, Anderson, Fremouw, and Schwartz (2011) found that bully and bully-victim groups scored significantly higher on proactive aggression compared to victim and control groups. Cumulative evidence also suggests that both bullies and bully-victims engage in more antisocial and criminal behavior compared to victims and controls (e.g., Haynie et al., 2001 and O'Brennan et al., 2009). Therefore, findings in related bodies of research work collectively suggest that the link between proactive aggression and gang membership is plausible. Even though evidence strongly suggests a positive association between proactive rather than reactive aggression and gang membership, it should be noted that theoretically, the proactive-reactive aggression distinction is one that has been debated in the field. While some researchers argue that reactive and proactive aggression differ in meaningful ways (Baker, Raine, Liu, & Jacobsen, 2008), other researchers question whether reactive and proactive aggression have too much conceptual convergence (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). A critical empirical question concerns whether reactive and proactive aggression are indeed associated with differential correlates. Psychopathy is a construct that is closely related to proactive aggression; high proactive aggression scores have been found to correspond with higher incidence of psychopathic traits (e.g., Kimonis et al., 2014, Raine et al., 2006 and Seah and Ang, 2008). Psychopathy is defined by antisocial, impulsive behavior, and a cluster of temperamental variables of callousness, low empathic regard, narcissism, and low emotionality (Hare, 1991). Research demonstrating links between psychopathy and gang membership have been mixed. On the one hand, there is empirical evidence suggesting that youth psychopathy is an important risk factor for gang involvement, and serious and violent offending behaviors (e.g., Salekin, 2008 and Valdez et al., 2000). For example, in a large, nationally representative, prospective sample of Canadian youth, Dupere, Lacourse, Willms, Vitaro, and Tremblay (2007) found that when faced with the opportunity to join gangs, not all adolescents will respond in a similar manner; adolescents with preexisting psychopathic tendencies might be especially likely to join gangs. On the other hand, there are empirical findings to suggest that instrumental violence is not necessarily the result of psychopathic traits. Camp, Skeem, Barchard, Lilienfeld, and Poythress (2013) argue that because criminal and instrumental violence are most likely the result of multiple interacting factors, it would be premature for researchers to convey the impression that psychopathy-specific traits cause “predatory” violence. Along a similar vein, in a study of youth gang offenders in Singapore, Chu et al. (2014) found that gang-affiliated youth offenders did not have significantly more psychopathic personality traits compared to non-gang-affiliated youth offenders; specifically, even though gang-affiliated youths scored higher on psychopathic personality attributes, these differences did not remain statistically significant when other relevant factors were considered. Collectively, although research evidence appears to be mixed, on balance, research does suggest that there is a positive association between psychopathy and gang membership though the effect size of that relationship may not be large. School disengagement has potentially serious consequences because prior research has shown that it is linked not only to school dropout, but also to substance use and criminal activity (e.g., Archambault et al., 2009 and Vaughn et al., 2011). Conversely, students who are more engaged in school have higher grades and show better psychological adjustment (Li & Lerner, 2011). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that school disengagement and eventual dropout is a universal problem that affects society negatively in a variety of ways. Additionally, school dropout is closely linked to delinquency (Eccles & Wang, 2012). More specifically, O'Brien et al.'s (2013) review of risk and protective factors of youth gang affiliation and violence suggest that low commitment to school and low school attachment are risk factors for youth gang membership and violence. Similarly, other empirical studies have also identified failure in school, and low school engagement and achievement as risk factor for youth gang membership across different countries (Alleyne and Wood, 2010, Chu et al., in press and Howell, 2009). School engagement has different facets such as behavioral, emotional, and cognitive domains. Different components of school engagement have been differentially associated with a variety of outcomes. For example, students with positive behavioral engagement such as good attendance are more likely to succeed and remain in school while those who are frequently absent or truant from school are at greater risk of academic failure and dropout (e.g., Simons-Morton & Chen, 2009). Students who are emotionally engaged in school appear to be less vulnerable to emotional distress and depressive symptoms (e.g., Li & Lerner, 2011). And cognitive engagement is positively associated with students who are willing to exert the necessary cognitive effort to use more efficient and effective self-regulated strategies for comprehending complex academic ideas and issues (e.g., Miller & Byrnes, 2001). Of the three domains of school engagement, behavioral engagement appears to be the facet most directly related to youth gang membership and involvement. Wang and Peck (2013) for example found behavioral disengagement to be a strong predictor of dropout. Other researchers such as Skinner, Kindermann, Connell, and Wellborn (2009) argue that truancy, absenteeism and delinquency are all closely associated with a low sense of school commitment and engagement. Taken together, there is sufficient empirical support showing strong associations between school engagement, in particular behavioral school engagement and youth gang membership. Based on the preceding literature review of the variables such as delinquency, aggression, psychopathy, and school engagement as they relate to youth gang membership and involvement, we formulated the following four hypotheses. First, we expected delinquency to be positively associated with youth gang membership given the strong and consistently robust relationship between the two variables across international studies. Second, consistent findings have demonstrated that proactive and reactive aggression have differentiated correlates and outcomes, with proactive aggression having stronger links with gang involvement. Therefore, we predicted a positive association between proactive aggression and youth gang membership given the empirical evidence in the literature. Third, we predicted a positive association between psychopathy and gang membership even though we note that this relationship has not always been consistently found in previous work. Fourth, of the three domains of school engagement, based on previous research, it appears that behavioral school engagement has the most direct link with gang involvement. Therefore, we expected behavioral school engagement to be negatively associated with youth gang involvement.