School-Based Protection of Youth At-Risk for Joining Gangs

Monica L. Whitlock, University of Southern California
Cheryl L. Maxson, University of California, Irvine

This presentation presents findings from a three-year study funded by the U.s. Department of Education to investigate school-based protection of youth at-risk for joining gangs and other delinquent peer groups. We examine how middle school aged boys that are involved in delinquent groups, or are at risk of joining them, experience schooling in Los Angeles, california, and how their experiences either increase their risk for delinquent group joining, or interact with risk to reduce the odds of joining. Personal interviews with about 450 7th and 8th grade boys provide data on risk and potential protective factors. A predictive model for joining delinquent groups is tested on 250 boys reinterviewed arter one year. We conclude with a discussion of the study's implications for educators, school-based prevention programs and scholars of resilience.

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Updated 05/20/2006