Delinquency, drug use, and gang membership in the English-speaking Caribbean

Charles M. Katz, Hyunjung Cheon, Kayla Freemon, Lidia E. Nuño

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this study, the authors examine the prevalence of self-reported delinquency, drug use, and gang membership among school-attending youth in nine English-speaking Caribbean nations including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. We also examine the frequency of these problem behaviors by gender and ethnicity. In doing so, we seek to gain an understanding of the extent and variation of delinquency and associated problems across the region and among subpopulations. The sample comprises more than 18,000 school-aged youth attending 306 schools. Our findings suggest that while offending varies significantly within and across the English-speaking Caribbean, youth engage in a disproportionate amount of violence when compared to other offense types, and though the current study is not cross-regional, youth appear to engage in substantially higher rates of violence than youth in other regions. Self-reported offending was higher among males than females for every offense type, though females in some nations reported more delinquency than males in other nations. In some of the study nations, there were no significant relationships between ethnicity and problem behaviors; however, in other nations, Afro-Caribbean, mixed, and youth from “other” ethnic backgrounds were significantly more likely to report problem behaviors than East Indian youth. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106758
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume144
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Caribbean
  • Delinquency
  • Drug
  • Ethnicity
  • Gangs
  • Gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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