Understanding Gang Joining from a Cross Classified Multi-Level Perspective

Lidia E. Nuño, Charles Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The present study seeks to address the gap in our understanding of the role of community- and school-level factors on individual-level gang joining. We assess our research question by bringing together data from a statewide survey of more than 35,000 school youth who were enrolled in more than 250 schools and resided in more than 300 communities. We first use multilevel modeling techniques to examine the independent relationship of community and school on the likelihood of individual youth gang joining. Second, while controlling for individual-level risk and protective factors, we examine the simultaneous relationship of community- and school-level conditions on gang joining. Overall, the results of the present study suggest that both community- and school-level characteristics play a role in gang joining. The results of the cross-classified model suggests that community structural characteristics may serve as protection against gang joining. Individual-level risk and protective factors remain important for understanding gang joining. A variety of factors are related to gang joining. Though individual-level factors are important, community- and school-level factors are meaningful in the understanding of gang joining.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-325
Number of pages25
JournalDeviant Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019


  • Gangs
  • cross-classified multilevel modelling
  • gang joining
  • risk and protective factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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