Disengagement From Gangs as Role Transitions

Scott Decker, David C. Pyrooz, Richard K. Moule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Most research has focused on the onset and consequences of gang membership, neglecting the importance of leaving the gang. Disengagement from gangs often occurs during the transition to adulthood, a critical period of the life course. While leaving gangs has received growing attention over the past decade, absent from this research has been a suitable theoretical perspective with which to frame disengagement. This study drew on Ebaugh's theory of role exit to examine disengagement among 260 former gang members. We find disengagement to be a drawn-out process, replete with many failures and obstacles. We conclude with a discussion of these implications for practitioners, policymakers, and future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-283
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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