The purpose of this study is to identify and describe patterns of drug related behavior in Dominican and Puerto Rican emerging adolescent gangs in Lawrence, Massachusetts and to examine the effect of these behaviors on the neighborhoods in which these gangs operate. Lawrence, Massachusetts has the second highest concentration of Dominicans and fifth highest concentration of Puerto Ricans in the country (U.S. Census, 1985). Gangs have a strong presence in the poor inner-city areas of Lawrence and emerging adolescent king gangs are heavily involved in the drug trade. This study will expand on Moore and Hagedorn's (1996)'s work in which they examined the relationship between socioeconomic status and the use by gangs of drug dealing as a means of economic survival. However, in contrast to Moore and Hagedorn's (1996) study which primarily focused on established gangs and their leaders, the focus of this study will be on emerging gangs and will not be limited to gang leaders. This study also will document the impact that gangs have on the neighborhoods in which they operate. It will examine their effect on the drug using and dealing behaviors of members' families, siblings and younger children in the neighborhoods and the effect of these gangs on the economic development and safety of the neighborhoods. In addition, the study will describe the formation, organization structure, group processes, and methods of operation of emerging gangs and compare them to the established Puerto Rican and Mexican-American gangs described by P32 Moore and Hagedorn (1996) and Valdez (1996) in their gang studies. It will also expand on the work conducted by Brook, Whiteman, Balka, Win, and Gursen (1997) and Vega, Zimmerman, Warheit, Apospori, and Gil (1993) on the effect of individual, familial, community, and cultural factors on the drug using behaviors of Mexican- American, Puerto Rican, and Cuban youth enrolled in school. Finally, this study will test Wilson's (1996) thesis that a lack of decent playing jobs in minority communities and the formation of intransigent """"""""ghetto-related"""""""" behaviors are at the root of the formation of criminal enterprises by young minority persons living in these communities. This study is divided into three phases. The first will involve extensive ethnographic observation of the neighborhoods in which emerging gangs operate and interviews with 20 gatekeepers. In the second interviews will be conducted with 50 Dominican (40 males and 10 females) and 50 Puerto Rican (40 males and 10 females) late adolescents who are members of emerging Dominican and Puerto Rican gangs. During the second phase interviews will also be conducted with the parents and one sibling of each gang member if the gang member gives his/her permission and the parents and siblings also agree to be interviewed. Observation of the neighborhoods will also be continued and be completed during the second phase. In the third phase data will be analyzed and reports and publications will be prepared. Gang members will be recruited using """"""""ethnographically driven targeted sampling"""""""" and will be sampled from two neighborhoods, one Puerto Rican and one Dominican.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDA1)
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Boston University
United States
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