A comparative study of youth gangs in china and the united states: Definition, offending, and victimization

Vincent J. Webb, Ling Ren, Jihong Solomon Zhao, Ni Phil He, Ineke Haen Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


While the research on youth gangs in the United States has been around for generations, relatively little research on Chinese youth gangs has been published in Western journals. The purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence of the gang involvement of school-age youth in China and to explore whether or not some of the correlates associated with gang participation in the West, such as patterns of offending and victimization, are found in China. The data were collected from 7th, 8th, and 9th graders in both China and the United States using the same survey instrument, namely, the second International Self-Report Delinquency (ISRD-2). The results suggest that the U.S. sample has higher prevalence of self-nominated gang membership than the Chinese sample. In addition, the lifetime and last year participation rates in various criminal acts among the gang members in the Chinese sample were much lower than those in the U.S. sample. Last year prevalence of victimization was also examined between the gang members and nongang members in both samples. Finally, the definition of gang member identification was further explored to probe how culture, language, and social context can affect the understanding of a gang among the survey respondents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-242
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Criminal Justice Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • cross-cultural study
  • offending
  • victimization
  • youth gangs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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