The purpose of the study was to test the prospective validity of the Gang Risk of Entry Factors (GREF) assessment. The study asked 3 primary questions:
- How successful is the assessment in identifying the youth (in the absence of a program) who become associated with a street gang over a subsequent 12 to 18 months?
- What percentage of youth identified as high risk for gang-joining actually do join a gang over this time?
- How many youth identified as low risk join?
Youth were referred to the study by school probation officers, approached by research staff at a probation office, or referred by a participating youth. Interviewers described the opportunity to the youth and parents. For those who were interested an appointment was set to meet at their home or other suitable location at a convenient time. Only one youth was eligible to participate within a household. Informed consent was obtained from a parent and the participating youth during the house visit prior to each interview. Youth were interviewed at a private, convenient location in or near their home. Overall, 505 youth were invited to participate in the study and 85% (428) agreed to participate at Time 1. A total of 391 follow-up interviews were completed at Time 2.
Researchers and probation officers in areas of Los Angeles County that experience high levels of gang crime recruited participates in 3 ways: referred by school probation officers (27%), approached by research staff at a probation office (60%), and referred to the study by a participating youth or his or her parent (13%).
All youth ages 11 to 16 in areas of Los Angeles County, California experiencing high levels of gang crime in 2011.
Variables at time 1 (Data n=428, 424 variables) and time 2 (Data n=391, 452 variables) pertain to nine risk factors associated with joining a street gang. These risk factors included impulsive risk taking, guilt neutralization, antisocial tendencies, negative peer influence, peer delinquency, parental supervision, family gang influence, critical life events, and early delinquent activities. The created variables data set RISK FACTOR DATA WITH GRP IDENTITY data (Data n=428, 55 variables) includes the variables related to the GREF scoring.
A total of 505 youth were invited to participate in the study and 85% (428) agreed to participate at Time 1. A total of 391 follow-up interviews were completed at Time 2 (91% of the Time 1 sample).
Several Likert type scales were used in this study.