U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Understanding the long-term consequences of gang membership: Desistance, Amplification and Impacts on Post-Adolescent Outcomes

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $124,606)

The Gang Field-Initiated Research and Evaluation Program will fund research and evaluation studies to produce practical findings for policymakers and practitioners for the development of evidence-based programs, policies, and strategies that effectively address at-risk and gang-involved youth. Topics to be addressed may include, but are not limited to: (1) youth entry into, involvement in, and desistance from gang-related crime; (2) the effectiveness of prevention approaches targeting youth at risk for gang involvement; (3) the effectiveness of intervention strategies; (4) the nature and scope of youth gangs in juvenile detention and correctional facilities; (5) the effectiveness of reentry approaches; and (6) the assessment of how tribal communities can effectively address gang-related challenges confronting at-risk and gang-involved native youth.This program is authorized by the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, Pub. L. 112-110.

Researchers at Arizona State University will conduct the following research study: "Understanding the Long-Term Consequences of Gang Membership." Gangs present serious challenges to social and juvenile justice institutions in United States. While the relationship between gang membership, offending, and victimization is well established, less is known about the long-term consequences of gang membership and whether these consequences cascade into significant life domains other than crime. The researchers hypothesize that joining a gang during adolescence will have an adverse effect that extends into adulthood and across various life domains.

This study will examine the consequences of gang membership for the adult life domains of educational attainment, economic success, familial commitments, and criminality. The researchers will also compare the outcomes for gang desisters to those who stay in the gang over longer periods of time.

The researchers will conduct secondary analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Cohort of 1997. As these data are nationally representative, longitudinal, and derived from a large sample, they are well-suited for this analysis. The results will provide important evidence about the long term consequences of gang membership that can be used by policy makers and program personnel.


Date Created: September 5, 2011