International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology
Subscribe to IJSA
Full Name*
Email Address*

Article Number - 837FD2641401

Vol.5(9), pp. 339-349 , December 2013
ISSN: 2006-988X

 Total Views: 0
 Downloaded: 0

Full Length Research Paper

Why American boys join street gangs

Stanley S. Taylor



California State University, USA.

Email: [email protected]

 Accepted: 19 August 2013  Published: 31 December 2013

Copyright © 2013 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0

It is well known that street gangs flourish in low-income African-American ghettos and Mexican barrios. There have been a moderate number of studies surrounding the reasons why youth join gangs. However, few have emphasized the life path of gang members beginning from age 7 years through adolescence and what Erickson (1950) identified as industry versus inferiority and identity versus role confusion stages of psychosocial development. This paper contributes to the literature on gang recruitment and socialization by introducing the life path of gang members, providing a rationale as to why certain boys join gangs, and shows how developmental patterns are consistent with DSM-IV-TR categorical criteria of oppositional defiance disorder, conduct disorder, and antisocial disorder patterns of delinquent youth.
Key words: Peer group, intimidation, Gangs, young adults, society.

Akers RL (1997). Criminological Theories: Introduction and Evaluation (2nd ed.) Roxbury: Los Angeles.
American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.
Berger K (1994). The Developing Person Through the Lifespan. New York: Worth Publishers.
Bieber I (1980). Cognitive Psychoanalysis. Jason Aronson: New York and London.
Burke JD, Waidman I, Lahey BB (2010). Predictive Validity of Childhood Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder: Implications for the DSM-V. J. Abnormal Psychol. 119:739-751.
Cohen AK (1955). Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gang. Free Press: Glencoe, IL.
Erikson EH (1950). Toys and Reasons: Stages in the Ritualization. New York: W.W. Norton Company Inc.
Espensen FA, Peterson D, Taylor T, Freng A (2009). "Similarities and Differences in Risk Factors for Violent Offending and Gang Membership." Aust. New Zealand J. Criminol. 42(3):310-335.
Geddes H (2008). Reflections on the Role of Fathers in Relation to Emotional Development and Learning. Br. J. Guid. Counsel. 36:399-409.
Goldstein AP (1991). Delinquent Gangs: A psychological perspective. McNaughton & Gun: United States.
Grant CM, Feimer S (2007). "Street Gangs in Indian Country: A Clash Of Cultures" J. Gang Res. 14:1-26.
Horney K (1945). Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of Neurosis. W.W. Norton Company Ltd.: London.
Jacobs N, Van J, Derom C, Thiery E, Delespaul P, Wichers M (2011). Neuroticism explained? From a non-informative vulnerability marker to informative person-context interactions in the realm of daily life. Full Text Available By M., Br. J. Clin. Psychol. 50:19-32
Jankowski SM (1991). Islands in the Street: Gangs and American Urban Society. University of California Press: Berkley and Los Angeles.
Johnstone J (1983). "Recruitment to a youth gang." Youth Soc. 14(3):281-300
Klein Malcolm W (1995). The American Street Gang. New York: Oxford University Press.
Klein M, Maxson C (2006). Street Gang Patterns and Policies. New York: Oxford University Press.
Klemp-North M (2007). "Theoretical Foundations for Gang Membership" J. Gang Res. 14:1-26.
Loeber R, Burke J, Pardini D (2009). "Perspectives on oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and psychopathic features" J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 50:133-142.
Merton RK (1938). Social Structure and Anomie. Am. Sociol. Rev. 3:672-682.
Murray J (1994). The Rorschach and Diagnosis of Neurotic Conditions in Children and Adolescents: A Case Study. J. Pers. Assess. 63:39-58.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Planning (OJJDP), National Youth Gang Survey (2009). Prevalence of Gang Problems. Analysis/Prevalence-of-Gang-Problems#prevalenceyouthgang.
Pardini D, Fite P (2010). Symptoms of Conduct Disorder, Oppositionnal Defiant Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Callous-unemotional Traits as Unique Predictors of Psychosocial Maladjustment in Boys: Advancing an Evidence Base for DSM-V. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 49:1134-1144.
Roelofs J, Meesters HM, Bamelis L, Muris P (2006). On the Links Between Attachment Style, Parental Rearing Behaviors, Internalizing and Externalizing and Externalizing Problems in Non-Clinical Children. J. Child Fam. Stud. 15:331-344.
Sappington AA (1989). Adjustment: Theory, Research, and Personal Applications.Brooks/Cole: Pacific Grove, California.
Shepperson VL (1982). Differences in assertion and aggression between normal and neurotic family trends. J. Pers. Assess. 46:409-413.
Sharp C, Aldridge J, Medina J (2006). Delinquent youth groups and offending behavior Findings from the 2004 Offending, Crime and Justice Survey, Home Office Online Report 14/06, Home Office. London, UK.
Sherif M, Sherif CW (1964). Reference Groups: Exploration into Conformity and Deviation of Adolescents. New York: Harper & Row.
Spergel IA (1995). The Youth Gang Problem. Oxford: New York.
Sroufe AL, Cooper RG, Gaine Dehart B (1996). Child Development: Its Nature's Course. McGraw Hill: New Baskerville.
Steinberg L (1985). Adolescence. Alfred A. Kopf, Inc.: New York.
Stretesky PB, Pogrebin MR (2007). "Gang Related Gun Violence: Socialization, Identity, and Self" J. Contemp. Ethnogr. 36:85-114.
Sutherland EH (1937). The Professional Thief. University of Chicago Press: U.S.
Thornberry TP (1998). "Membership in youth gangs and involvement in serious and violent offending." In: Loeber R, and Farrington (Eds.), Serious and violent offenders: Risk factors and successful interventions. Sage Pubications: Thousand Oaks, CA, pp.147-166.
Thornberry TP, Krohn MD, Lizotte AJ, Smith CA, Tobin K (2003). Gangs and Delinquency in Developmental Perspective. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
Vigil JD (1988). Barrio Gangs: Street Life and Identity in Southern California. University of Texas Press: Austin.
Wasylkiw L, Fabrigar L, Rainboth S, Reid, Christina S (2010). Neuroticism and the Architecture of the self: Exploring Neuroticism as a Moderator of the Impact of Ideal Self Descrepancies on Emotion. J. Pers. 78:471-492.
Webster C, Macdonald R, Simpson M (2006). Predicting Criminality: Risk Factors, Neighbourhood Influence and Desistance, Youth Justice 6:7-22.
Yablonsky L (1997). Gangsters: Fifty Years of Madness, Drugs, and Death on the Streets. New York University Press: New York and London.


APA (2013). Why American boys join street gangs. International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, 5(9), 339-349.
Chicago Stanley S. Taylor    . "Why American boys join street gangs." International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology 5, no. 9 (2013): 339-349.
MLA Stanley S. Taylor    . "Why American boys join street gangs." International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology 5.9 (2013): 339-349.

Subscription Form