Most research has focused on the onset and consequences of gang membership, neglecting the importance of leaving the gang. Disengagement from gangs often occurs during the transition to adulthood, a critical period of the life course. While leaving gangs has received growing attention over the past decade, absent from this research has been a suitable theoretical perspective with which to frame disengagement. This study drew on Ebaugh's theory of role exit to examine disengagement among 260 former gang members. We find disengagement to be a drawn-out process, replete with many failures and obstacles. We conclude with a discussion of these implications for practitioners, policymakers, and future research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Behavioral Neuroscience