The impact of childhood maltreatment on adolescent gang involvement

Joanna Kubik, Meagan Docherty, Paul Boxer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: A number of risk factors for gang involvement have been identified in the literature, such as victimization, poor parental monitoring, aggressive behavior, and affiliation with delinquent peers. However, few studies have examined the influence of maltreatment experiences during childhood on gang involvement later in adolescence. Objective: This study examines how differential experiences of maltreatment might impact future gang involvement. Participants and setting: We analyze self-report data and official maltreatment records on 611 youth (52% female; 76% non-white) in the US, from a larger dataset (Longitudinal Studies on Childhood Abuse and Neglect; N = 1354). Methods: Multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine the influence of experiencing different types of maltreatment on gang involvement. Results: Results show that childhood experiences of maltreatment (p =.005) generally and neglect (p =.013) specifically were significantly associated with an increased risk of involvement in stable gang affiliations later in adolescence. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the value of considering gang involvement as an outcome of maltreatment and tailoring best practice interventions to support maltreated youth at risk of gang involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104096
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
StatePublished - Oct 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


  • Adolescence
  • Gang
  • Maltreatment
  • Neglect

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