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Date of Award


Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Sandra Jenkins, PhD

Second Advisor

Mary DuPain, PhD

Third Advisor

Roberts Basham, PhD


This study examined existing literature pertaining to females and gangs and found very little theoretical basis for understanding who these young women are and what they are like. An extensive research study used structured interviews, standardized questionnaires, and collaborative records to gather information about adolescent women in a metropolitan area with an emerging gang problem. Several variables were identified which could differentiate gang-involved adolescent women from other groups of adolescent women and these were used to develop a "Gang Involvement Risk Index." Significant variables included: low education level of mother; poor relationship with father, or absent father; perception of mistreatment at home; lack of sense of efficacy; low self-esteem; and having friends who are gang members. Implications for intervention and programming are discussed.