Social butterflies who establish multiple groups of friends are less likely to be delinquent or get involved with gangs, according to a new study, Social Networks, Delinquency and Gang Membership, by the Urban Institute. The report focused on youths between the ages of 14 and 21 in a predominately Latino neighborhood in suburban Maryland. It examined how social networks affected risk factors for delinquency, violence, and gang membership.
The report suggests that community-based programs that unite young people around a mindset that dissuades gang membership best serve at-risk youths. It also notes that adult role models as members of a youth's social network can be valuable in deterring criminal behavior.
Read the report here.