Gang affiliation in youth is associated with increased criminal recidivism and an exaggeration of various criminogenic needs; affiliation also meets a variety of youth's personal and social needs. The purpose of this paper is to describe a study of the self-reported reasons for joining and leaving gangs, as well as the difficulties faced by Singaporean youth offenders in leaving youth gangs; it also explores the relationship between gang affiliation and family connectedness, educational attainment and early exposure to gangs.
This prospective study involved structured interviews and administration of questionnaires with 168 youth offenders in Singapore. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to examine the research questions.
Gang-affiliated youth cited a desire to establish and maintain friendships as their primary reasons for joining a gang. Youth who left their gang reported maturing beyond this need and the activities of their gang, particularly in light of the deleterious impact of their gang-related activities on familial relationships and employment and financial status. Early exposure to gangs through family and neighborhood influences, and poor educational engagement increased the likelihood that youth would join a gang.
This study highlights the need for clinicians and other service providers to better understand the universal human needs that are met through gang affiliation and the correlates of affiliation.
Few studies have directly examined the factors relating to gang affiliation in a non-western context; this study may be relevant to professionals working in the juvenile justice and offender rehabilitation arenas.
Chu, C.M., Daffern, M., Thomas, S., Yaming, A., Long, M. and O'Brien, K. (2015), "Determinants of gang affiliation in Singaporean youth offenders: social and familial factors", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 19-32. https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-11-2013-0031
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