Gang involvement and membership among homeless and runaway youth

Kevin A. Yoder, Les B. Whitbeck, Dan R. Hoyt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


The present study documented the extent of gang involvement and gang membership in a sample of 602 homeless and runaway youth from four midwestern states. The study also compared gang members, gang-involved youth who were not members, and nongang youth on several dimensions including sociodemographic characteristics, family background, school experiences, street experiences and exposure, emotional problems, alcohol and drug use, and other delinquent and deviant behaviors. Findings indicated that a significant number of these youth were gang members (15.4% of the sample) or involved in gangs (32.2% of the sample). Youth gang members and gang-involved youth reported more family legal problems, had been suspended from school more, ran away at a younger age, used more alcohol and drugs, were exposed to more deviant peers, and attempted suicide more than did nongang youth. In addition, youth gang members reported less parental monitoring, more severe abuse, more street victimization, and more deviant subsistence strategies than did either gang-involved or noninvolved youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-467
Number of pages27
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Gang involvement
  • Gang members
  • Homeless and runaway youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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