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BCTR Co-sponsored Talk: Rachel A. Gordon, Friday, March 1, 2013

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The Delinquent Careers of African-American Gang Members from the Pittsburgh Youth Study
Rachel A. Gordon, Sociology Department, University of Illinois at Chicago

Friday, March 1, 2013
G87 MVR Hall

co-sponsored with the Cornell Population Center.

We examined gang membership together with four delinquent behaviors (drug selling, gun carrying, serious theft, and serious violence) throughout the 1990s for over 500 African American boys. We examined overlap among activities in several ways. We described the patterns of delinquency (how many and which activities) across the decade and at particular waves. We predicted each delinquent act based on prior engagement in and exposure to other aspects of delinquency (e.g., nearby gang territory, perceptions of local gang problems, prior gang membership). Findings indicated that gang membership increased the risks of starting the other four types of delinquency; and, living near gang territory predicted gun carrying, especially when the neighborhood had high rates of other crimes.

Rachel A. Gordon, is an Associate Professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a faculty member of the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Her research has examined how numerous contextual and social factors affect children and families. Her current research interests include measuring child care and preschool quality, understanding how families sort into child care arrangements, exploring the intersections between youth gang participation and delinquency, and examining how physical attractiveness associates with social and academic achievement in in childhood and adolescence. She is the author of two statistics textbooks and has published her research in leading academic journals including the American Journal of Evaluation, Child Development, Criminology, Demography, Developmental Psychology, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Research on Adolescence, and Social Service Review. She has been the PI of research grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and the Institute of Education Sciences, among others. Gordon holds a B.S. in psychology from Pennsylvania State University, an MPP and PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago, and received pre-doctoral training in demography and a post-doctoral experience in work-family research at the NORC Research Centers.

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