Gang Membership, School Violence, and the Mediating Effects of Risk and Protective Behaviors in California High Schools Academic Article uri icon


  • There is insufficient empirical evidence exploring associations between gang membership and school violence behaviors. Using a sample of 272,863 high school students, this study employs a structural equation model to examine how school risk and protective behaviors and attitudes mediate effects of gang members' involvement with school violence behaviors. The most important finding is that gang membership is not directly associated with school violence perpetration or victimization. Results indicate school risk behaviors and attitudes indirectly mediate associations between gang membership and school violence perpetration and victimization. This suggests that when gang members partake in school risk behaviors they are more likely to be involved as school violence perpetrators. Findings reveal gang membership has a strong positive association with school-based risk behaviors and attitudes and a moderate negative association with school protective behaviors and attitudes. Implications for further research, theory, and practice for both gang and school violence researchers are discussed. Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Estrada, J., Gilreath, T. D., Astor, R. A., & Benbenishty, R.

citation count

  • 13

publication date

  • April 2014