Gang Dissertation Titles

Gang membership and involvement: Student perceptions and prevention impact

Patricia Anne Murphy, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The study describes the perceptions of a specific group of students toward the advantages and disadvantages of joining gangs. The research identifies the likely impact of a gang prevention program, the Gang Education and Resistance Curriculum (Tsagaris, 1996), on changing student perceptions about joining gangs. Lastly, the study examines what educators and law enforcement officials view are essential characteristics of a successful program to prevent students from joining gangs. ^ Data were collected using a student survey and guided interviews with educators, correctional officers and teachers. One hundred seven students were administered a Gang Awareness Survey prior to and upon completion of the gang prevention program. Guided interviews explored observations and experiences the adults had working with each other and with the students who participated in the program. ^ Findings indicate that students have varying perceptions about the advantages and disadvantages of joining gangs. The impact of a gang prevention program differs for each student. And, there is commitment by adults to prevent students from joining gangs. ^ Specific findings suggest that: (1) Student perceptions of the advantages of joining gangs prior to participation in the program demonstrated lack of knowledge about gang member attributes. (2) Upon completion of the program fewer students perceived many advantages to joining gangs. (3) Overall data analysis indicates that it is likely that the Gang Awareness and Resistance curriculum has an impact on changing participating student perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of joining gangs. (4) Educators and correctional officers believe that collaborative models best serve the needs of the students, the schools and the community. ^ The research culminates in recommendations for developing gang prevention programs. These recommendations can be used by school districts in collaboration with law enforcement officials and other community members to guide the development of programs that meet unique needs to prevent gangs in their schools and communities. ^

Subject Area

School counseling|Criminology|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Murphy, Patricia Anne, "Gang membership and involvement: Student perceptions and prevention impact" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9978531.


Since July 19, 2006


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Youth Gangs: Lived Experiences in an Emergent Area

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dc.contributor.advisorDr. Pamela Martin, Committee Memberen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDr. Sylvia Nassar-McMillan, Committee Memberen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDr. Stanley Baker, Committee Memberen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDr. Edwin Gerler, Committee Chairen_US
dc.contributor.authorRobertson, Heather Jeanen_US
dc.description.abstractROBERTSON, HEATHER JEAN. Youth Gangs: Lived Experiences in an Emergent Area. (Under the direction of Edwin R. Gerler). This qualitative research study sought to gain an understanding of youth gang members who live in area where gangs are beginning to emerge. Four gang involved youth males, ages 18-23, two black and two Latino, were interviewed, made a neighborhood map, and were part of a photovoice project. The four main goals this study hoped to discover were who the most influential people were in the youth’s life and if they had anything to do with the youth becoming gang involved; if where the youth lived had anything to do with them becoming gang involved; how these youth were different than other gang involved youth who do not seek intervention programs; and finally what part of the intervention program they are involved in is helping them the most and what do they think would help other gang involved youth most in the future. This research study utilized a phenomenological approach to accomplish its research goals. This study utilized the coding and thematic analysis method presented in Creswell (2007). Data analysis using the triangulation process combined the interview, map and photography data to discover the following themes: education; high risk lifestyle; language and language issues; life goals and dreams; living environment; monetary influences; negative issues, emotional repercussions, and coping mechanisms; positive human influences; pride and socially acceptable behaviors; role of women; and role of structured program intervention.en_US
dc.rightsI hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dis sertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to NC State University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.en_US
dc.subjectgang interventionen_US
dc.subjectyouth gangsen_US
dc.subjectqualitative researchen_US
dc.subjectgang preventionen_US
dc.titleYouth Gangs: Lived Experiences in an Emergent Areaen_US Educationen_US

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