Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, GA, USA
Address for correspondence: Nada M. Goodrum, Department of Psychology, Georgia StateUniversity, P.O. Box 5010, Atlanta, 30302-5010 GA, USA. Tel.: +404 413 6315; Fax: +404 413 6207; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: Immigrant and refugee youth are at elevated risk for joining gangs, which, in turn, is associated with a host of maladaptive outcomes. Previous literature on risk and protective factors for immigrant and refugee youth gang involvement has been inconclusive. Applying a developmental ecological systems approach, this study investigated contextual influences on immigrant and refugee gang involvement across three ecological systems (i.e., ontogenic system, microsystem, and exosystem). Participants included 81 immigrant and refugee youth aged 12–20 years (Mage = 15.68; 54.3% female) who completed self-report questionnaires assessing gang involvement and multiple risk and protective factors. Multivariate analyses revealed that racial discrimination, negative parenting, and exposure to community violence were positively associated with gang involvement, whereas peer support was negatively related to gang involvement. Future research should examine how to mitigate risk factors from multiple ecological systems. One potential avenue is to develop alternative prosocial settings in which these youth feel supported and valued.
Keywords: Gang involvement, immigrant, refugee, adolescents, ecological systems theory