Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Family Science and Human Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Pearl Stewart

Committee Member

Van Eeden-Moorefield

Committee Member

Robert J. Reid


Although there is an abundance of research done on gang members, gang activity, and gang activity in low-income neighborhoods, there is not much research that focuses on the community trauma in low-income neighborhoods; and any relations it may have on or to gang members. Research pertaining to gang members usually focuses on how gang activity affects the lives of non-gang members living in the community. This research study aims to explore community trauma and the behaviors of gang members, from a gang member’s perspective. This research study gives insight into the minds of 10 male African American gang members, as they express their feelings, acknowledge their contribution to the trauma in their communities, and discuss their rationale for gang membership, through one-on-one interviews. Results indicate that although gang members are typically blamed for the trauma in their community, they (the gang members) themselves are frequently victims of their communal circumstances. Their behaviors may contribute to trauma in their communities, but their communities often inflict trauma into their lives.

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