Group cohesiveness, gang member prestige, and delinquency and violence in chicago, 1959-1962

Lorine A. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Data from Short and Strodtbeck's (1965) study of gangs in Chicago, 1959-1962, are used to examine the association between intragang friendship networks and violent and delinquent behaviors among 248 boys from 11 different gangs (9 Black and 2 White). Contrary to expectations of tightly connected gangs being the most dangerous, estimates from multilevel overdispersed Poisson regression models showed significantly increased mean levels of violence among gangs with relatively low group cohesion. No relationship was observed between delinquency and gang cohesiveness, regardless of the specific network measure employed. At the individual level, popular boys were at a significantly increased risk for both delinquency and violence, suggesting a link between prestigious positions within the structure of gang friendship networks and conformity with group processes. The implications of these findings for detached worker intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-832
Number of pages38
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Cohesiveness
  • Delinquency
  • Gangs
  • Networks
  • Prestige

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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