The Role of Gang Motivation in High Risk for Violence Situations

Jennifer Roberts, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Previous research examining differences in the "nature" of gang motive and gang member homicides suggests that the two types are virtually identical (Maxson and Klein, 1996). The present study expands upon this research by examining whether having a gang motivation increases the likelihood of violent outcomes in various high risk for violence situations. In this way, non-lethal and more common forms of violence can be explored to see if gang motivation influences situational outcomes. It is hypothesized that situations involving "gang issues" (i.e., gang motivation) will be more likely to result in violence (as opposed to avoided violence). Data for this research were obtained from over 700 newly admitted male inmates to the Nebraska Department of Corrections. Data analysis examines both situational and person-level factors pertinent to violent outcomes. Preliminary results suggest that after controlling for situational factors (e.g., presence of others) and person factors (e.g., age, race), "gang motivation" still significantly increases the likelihood of violence.

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Updated 05/20/2006