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Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: BF, HV, HV5001, HV5800
Objective: Little is known about the differences between gang members and gang affiliates;\ud individuals who associate with gangs, but who are not gang members. Even less is known\ud about how these groups compare with other violent populations. This study, examined how\ud gang members, gang affiliates, and violent men, compare on mental health symptoms and\ud traumatic experiences. Method: Data included a sample of 1,539 adult males, aged 19-34\ud years, taken from an earlier survey conducted in the UK. Participants provided informed\ud consent before completing questionnaires, and were paid £5 for participation. Logistic\ud regression analyses were conducted to compare participants’ symptoms of psychiatric\ud morbidity and traumatic event exposure. Results: Findings showed that, compared to violent\ud men and gang affiliates, gang members had experienced more severe violence, sexual\ud assaults, and suffered more serious/life threatening injuries. Compared to violent men, gang\ud members and gang affiliates had made more suicide attempts, had self-harmed more\ud frequently, and had experienced more domestic violence, violence at work, homelessness,\ud stalking, and bankruptcy. Findings further showed a decreasing gradient from gang members,\ud to gang affiliates, to violent men, in symptom levels of: anxiety, anti-social personality\ud disorder, pathological gambling, stalking others, and drug and/or alcohol dependence.\ud Depression symptoms were similar across groups. Conclusions: The identified relationship\ud between gang membership, affiliation and adverse mental health, indicates that mental health\ud in gang membership deserves more research attention. Findings also indicate that criminal\ud justice strategies need to consider gang members’ mental health more fully, if gang\ud membership is to be appropriately addressed and reduced.
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