OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between gang involvement and female adolescents' health. METHODS: African American adolescent females (N = 522) completed a survey that assessed their history of gang involvement and health behaviors and provided specimens that were analyzed for marijuana use and sexually transmitted diseases. RESULTS: In logistic regression analyses, adolescents with a history of gang involvement were more likely to have been expelled from school (odds ratio [OR]: 3.6), be a binge drinker (OR: 3.3), have a positive toxicologic test for marijuana (OR: 2.6), have been in 3 or more fights in the past 6 months (OR: 3.8), have a nonmonogamous partner (OR: 2.4), and test positive for Trichomonas vaginalis (OR: 2.2) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (OR: 3.6). CONCLUSION: This study extends the current research on risk behaviors associated with gang involvement to include biological markers for substance use and sexual health outcomes, namely, marijuana use and sexually transmitted diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health