Addressing key features of gang membership measuring the involvement of young members

Scott H. Decker, G. David Curry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


In recent years, the growth in knowledge of the characteristics and activities of gang members has been impressive. Little is known, however, about the key features of younger gang members, those in middle school. Ninety-six middle school students who self-reported current or former gang membership in a school-based survey form the sample for this analysis. This study examined four dimensions of gang membership: joining the gang, processes involved in gang life, organizational characteristics of the gang, and family characteristics. Gang membership appears to be transient, with a weak hold on members during periods of membership. This is especially true when the results of this study are compared to studies that used older members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-482
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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