Building on recent quantitative studies, the present study was an examination of the potential relationship between and among complex trauma, acculturation and gang membership in a sample of Latina adolescents. A total of 17 incarcerated, self-identified Latina youth ages 14-24 participated in the present study. The author set out to address a gap in the social science literature regarding the associations between exposure to traumatic life experiences, juvenile delinquency and gang membership. Identifying risk factors for gang involvement may subsequently inform mental health professionals working with at-risk and gang-involved Latina youth. It was hypothesized that a history of trauma would be significantly associated with higher scores of self-reported gang involvement among Latina adolescents. While the initial hypothesis was not supported, interesting findings emerged in the domains of acculturation and childhood maltreatment.
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