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Psychological and Behavioral Characteristics Differentiating Gang and Non-gang Girls in the UK

Alleyne, Emma, Pritchard, E. (2016) Psychological and Behavioral Characteristics Differentiating Gang and Non-gang Girls in the UK. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, 2 (2). pp. 122-133. ISSN 2056-3841. (doi:10.1108/JCRPP-05-2015-0017) (KAR id:51906)

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Purpose: Research has demonstrated that girls are involved in gangs as members and affiliates. However, the psychological processes related to female gang membership has, to date, not been examined using a rigorous comparative design. The main purpose of this study was to assess whether female gang members exhibit distinct psychological and behavioral features when compared to female non-gang youth.

Design/methodology/approach: 117 female students were recruited from all-girls’ secondary schools in London, United Kingdom. Gang members (n = 22; identified using the Eurogang definition) were compared to non-gang youth (n = 95) on self-report measures of criminal activity, sexual activity, self esteem, anti-authority attitudes, their perceived importance of social status, and hypermasculinity, using a series of MANCOVAs.

Findings: The results found that gang members reported significantly more criminal activity, sexual activity, unwanted sexual contact and held more anti-authority attitudes when compared to their non-gang counterparts.

Practical implications: These findings support Pyrooz et al.’s (2014) findings that gang membership contributes to the theoretical conceptualization of the victim-offender overlap. Practitioners need to take this into consideration when working with female gang members.

Originality/value: There is very little research that explicitly examines the characteristics of female gang members with suitable comparison groups. This study adds to the growing literature on female involvement in gangs and highlights the distinct psychological and behavioral characteristics of this group. In summary, these findings support the notion that female gang members are both at risk of being sexually exploited and engaging in criminal activities.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/JCRPP-05-2015-0017
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Emma Alleyne
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2015 18:17 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 11:07 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Alleyne, Emma:
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