Girls, Gangs, & Sex


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Girls, Gangs, & Sex

  1. 1. Risa Turetsky, RN, MPH candidate Presentation for Adolescent Health February 27, 2008
  2. 2. Presentation Outline Define the problem  Identify the public health significance  Risk and Protective Factors  Framework for understanding the  problem Suggestion for intervention  Concluding thoughts 
  3. 3. Girls, Gangs and Sex - What’s the Problem? “Youth gang”? “Street gang”? What’s that???  Gang prevalence in the U.S.  Girls in gangs 
  4. 4. Girls, Gangs and Sex– What’s the Problem? Females in gangs compared to those not in gangs have… Earlier sexual debut, more partners, lower frequency  of condom use Higher risk of STIs   3 ½ times more likely to have gonorrhea*  2 times more likely to have Trichomonas* Negative emotional sequelae  * Wingwood et al. (2002) “Gang involvement and the health of African American adolescents.” Pediatrics, 110(5): e57.
  5. 5. Risk Factors for High Risk Sexual Behaviors in Gangs Being in a gang – risks associated with being a  member as well as the reasons for joining Gang Culture   Type of gang and the sexual practices  Status within the gang  Non-Monogamous Relationships Ethnicity – not well substantiated  General adolescent risk factors   Drug/Alcohol use  Sexual abuse history  Runaways  Period of risk taking & identity discovery
  6. 6. Protective Factors against High Risk Sexual Behaviors in Gangs Elements of Gang Culture   Type of gang and the sexual practices  Ethnicity Pregnancy   Factors that prevent kids from joining gangs  Positive Connections  Success  Religious involvement  Means of resolving conflicts  Prosocial behavior patterns
  7. 7. Model of Girls in Gangs RISK FACTORS Negative Health Risk Fc for Gang Outcomes Membership • Antisocial behavior • Aggressive coping • Self-concept of “bad” High Risk Sexual Gang Culture as a • Adults see as “bad” Behaviors Risk Factor • Lower parental •Sexual exploitation of Join a Gang involvement/monitor girls • Seeking respect/power •Sexual initiation rites Female Specific Factors • Asian or Hispanic • seeking “belonging” • Females are integrated • low self esteem PROTECTIVE with male gang • sexual abuse •Culture of sexual risk • drugs/violence in the FACTORS home Adolescent Risk Fc Protective Against Protective Against • drug/alcohol use Joining a Gang Sexual Risk in • sexual abuse • runaways • Positive Connections Gang • period of risk-taking/ identity • Success •Consider girls as equals • Religious involvement seeking in the gang • Means of resolving • Separate female gang conflicts • AA or Caucasian • Prosocial behavior • Pregnancy patterns
  8. 8. Targeted Prevention Start early!  Target at-risk youth   Also work with girls who are in gangs  Female-centered Multi-disciplinary; Multi-factorial  Resources, Connection, and Mentors  Communication  Boys & Girls Club: Gang Prevention through Targeted Outreach 
  9. 9. Concluding Thoughts Girls are significantly represented in the  youth gang context Gang culture predisposes girls to high risk  sexual practices Being in a gang is the strongest risk factor  Interventions need to be multifaceted and  start young Positive support can help these girls meet  their potential and stay safe!
  10. 10. Of Interest… National Youth Gang Center:  information, fact sheets, resources, and news on gangs in the US - Female Gangs: A Focus on Research:  bulletin on the issue of female gang involvement - Strategic Planning Tool: provides a means of  assessing gang problem and devising interventions -
  11. 11. References Moore, J. and Hegedorn, J. (2001) “Female gangs: A focus on research.” Office of  Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: Juvenile Justice Bulletin, Retrieved February 21, 2008, from Esbensen, F., Huizinga, D., Weiher, A. (1993) “Gang and non-gang youth: differences in  explanatory factors.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 9: 94-116. Esbensen, F., Deschenes, E., Winfree, T. (1999) “ Differences between gang girls and  gang boys: Results from a multisite survey.” Youth Society, 31: 27-53. Wingwood, G., DiClemente, R., Crosby, R., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook, E. (2002)  “Gang involvement and the health of African American adolescents.” Pediatrics, 110(5): e57. Molidor, C. (1996) “Female gang members: A profile of aggression and victimization “  Social Work, 41(3): 251-257. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2000) “Preventing adolescent  gang involvement.” Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: Juvenile Justice Bulletin, Retrieved February 25, 2008 from Howell, J. and Egley, R. (2008) “Frequently asked questions about gangs.”  National Youth Gang Center, Retrieved February 23, 2008 from Harper, G. and Robinson, W. (1999) “Pathways to risk among inner-city African  American adolescent females: The influence of gang membership.” American Journal of Community Psychology, 27(3): 383-404