This article examines whether adolescent females involved in the juvenile justice system, who were never gang members but have had boyfriends who were gang members, are at higher risk for negative psychological, relationship and sexual risk outcomes compared to their counterparts. Data were collected from a convenience sample of African American adolescent females involved in the juvenile justice system, age 13–17, currently incarcerated in a short-term detention facility in Georgia (N = 137). Multiple logistic regression models controlling for age and SES documented that having a gang-involved boyfriend was associated with a greater risk for emotional and physical abuse, depression, PTSD, drug use, diminished perceived life chances and a variety of sexual risk predictors, such as decreased relationship control, partner infidelity, shorter time to sex with a casual sexual partner and reduced likelihood of HIV testing. These findings suggest that these women should be included in early prevention and intervention initiatives traditionally targeted at youth involved in gangs.
- Health-related factors
- Juvenile justice involvement
- Male partner gang involvement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies