Serious delinquency and gang participation: Combining and specializing in drug selling, theft, and violence

Rachel A. Gordon, Hillary L. Rowe, Dustin Pardini, Rolf Loeber, Helene Raskin White, David P. Farrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Using Pittsburgh Youth Study data, we examined the extent to which over 600 gang members and non-gang-involved young men specialized in drug selling, serious theft, or serious violence, or engaged simultaneously in these serious delinquent behaviors, throughout the 1990s. We found that the increase in delinquency associated with gang membership was concentrated in two combinations: serious violence and drug selling; and serious violence, drug selling, and serious theft. Several covariates were similarly associated with multitype serious delinquency and gang membership (age, historical time, Black race, and residential mobility), suggesting that these behaviors may share common developmental, familial, and contextual risks. We encourage future research to further examine the association of gang membership with engagement in particular configurations of serious delinquency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-251
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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