Date of Submission


Document Type



Kendell L. Coker, Ph.D., J.D.


Juvenile Gang Involvement, Head Injury, Bully Victimization, Depression


Gang members, Gangs, Juvenile delinquents, Head--Wounds and injuries, Depression, Mental


Gang involved youth are responsible for the majority of violent juvenile crime throughout the United States. A better understanding of the risk factors that draw youth towards gangs would be beneficial to the field. The study seeks to understand the predictors of juvenile gang involvement and self-reported juvenile offending using the Pathways to Desistance, a longitudinal study of adjudicated juvenile offenders. The study operationalizes gang involvement as self-reported gang involvement before the age of 18. This study examines whether head injury, bully victimization, and depression are predictors of gang involvement among adolescents and the impact of self-esteem and race/ethnicity in this relationship. The results reveal a significant positive relationship between bully victimization and gang involvement for minorities. Head injury and depression were not significant predictors of gang involvement and self-esteem did not have significant impact on self-reported offending. The implications of these findings to address youth gang involvement are discussed.