Understanding the personality traits of street-gang involved individuals

Minnett, Katie-Louise (2021). Understanding the personality traits of street-gang involved individuals. University of Birmingham. Foren.Psy.D.

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This thesis contributes to the literature base regarding the psychology of street-gang membership by exploring the personality traits of street-gang members, with a specific focus on resilience. Academics have suggested that street-gang membership is the result of an integration between individual and environmental factors and recommend that research is conducted to explore these areas. Considering the negative impact of street-gang related violence, this area of research is crucial for individual street-gang members, the practitioners that work with them, and the wider community.

The first chapter provides an introduction to the thesis by outlining the rationale for this research and exploring some of the definitional difficulties in relation to two key constructs: street-gang membership and resilience. A commentary on the current need for this research, alongside historical background and the theoretical underpinnings of gang membership is provided. Subsequently, focus is given to the construct of resilience.

Chapter 2 presents the first systematic literature review conducted to explore the personality traits of male street-gang members. The review concludes by highlighting several personality traits that appear to be linked to street-gang membership including overall psychopathy, emotional traits (such as aggression), traits relating to autonomy, traits relating to identity, anti-social personality difficulties and resilience.

The third chapter of this thesis provides a critical evaluation of a resilience measurement tool, the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC; Connor & Davidson, 2003). Findings in relation to reliability and validity of the measure are promising. However, it is noted that there is currently no gold standard measurement tool of resilience, and the critique concludes that a more specific measure of resilience would be helpful for research and practice.

Chapter 4 presents an empirical research study investigating differences in scores on the Resilient Systems Scale (Maltby et al., 2017) between street-gang and non-street-gang involved individuals in custody in the U.K. No significant differences in scores on the sub-scales were found between street-gang and non-street-gang involved individuals. However, descriptive statistics offer some interesting results that may benefit from further exploration. The conclusion of this chapter highlighted the need to further explore the construct of resilience in order to ascertain whether this trait is associated with street-gang membership and/or leaving a street-gang.

The thesis conclusions presented in Chapter 5 consider the main findings in relation to previous literature, comment on the strengths and limitations of the thesis as a whole, discuss the implications for forensic practice, and make recommendations for future research.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12115


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