A Statewide Study of Gang Membership in California Secondary Schools

Joey Nuñez Estrada, Tamika D. Gilreath, Ron Avi Astor, Rami Benbenishty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


To date, there is a paucity of empirical evidence that examines gang membership in schools. Using statewide data of 7th-, 9th-, and 11th-grade students from California, this study focuses on the prevalence of gang membership by county, region, ethnicity, and grade level. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were employed with gang membership as the outcome of interest. Approximately 8.4% of the student sample reported that they consider themselves to be a member of a gang. Regional-level rates of gang membership across six geographical areas are all in a relatively narrow range and gang members are fairly evenly distributed across California schools. The findings imply that schools are a good place to focus on gang prevention and intervention, and educators need to be aware of the possible gang activity in their schools to provide the appropriate resources, programs, and support for these students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-736
Number of pages17
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, © The Author(s) 2014.


  • California
  • gang membership
  • secondary schools


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