Topic 9: Peer Rejection & Gangs {by 11/14}

There are two readings due this week: Zakriski et al. (1997) – Coping with childhood peer rejection, and Davis (1999) – The gang as a pseudo community.  Address the following two discussion points:  (1) What are a couple differences between nonaggressive-rejected and aggressive-rejected children (e.g., psychological effects, appraisal style)?  Why is considering these differences relevant?   (2) What are a couple potential contributing factors for a child/adolescent to join a gang?  Why would one even consider joining a gang (i.e., perceived [and real] benefits)?  Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 11/14.  Have your two replies no later than 11/16.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

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34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kirsten Chirichetti
    Nov 11, 2013 @ 23:40:29

    (1) The experience of childhood peer rejection has been related to significant amounts of distress and more aversive interpersonal interactions in school. There are two main types of rejected children: aggressive and non-aggressive children. Aggressive children are often intimidating and engage in behaviors such as fighting/instigating fights, antagonizing others, verbal/physical assaults, and threatening peers. On the other hand, non-aggressive rejected children display other characteristics such as being more withdrawn, timid, and submissive (Zakriski et al., 1997). These two groups experience peer rejection differently, leading them to develop different styles of coping with the stress they experience. One difference between aggressive-rejected and non-aggressive rejected peers is the development of psychopathology in the future. Although research supports a strong link between childhood rejection and serious negative psychological outcomes (i.e., general mental health problems, externalizing symptoms, internalizing symptoms, poor school adjustment, and school dropout), data addressing the joint contributions of peer rejection and aggression suggest more negative overall outcomes for children who have both problems (Zakriski et al., 1997). Therefore, aggressive-rejected children are at greater risk for the development of negative mental health outcomes than non-aggressive rejected children. Another difference between these two groups is the nature of the experience of peer rejection. Non-aggressive rejected children experience peer rejection as more stressful because compared to aggressive-rejected children they are more actively and overtly disliked by others. Children who are aggressive are less likely to receive clear feedback that they are disliked because sometimes their aggressive acts are rewarded (or not reciprocated/met with resistance) and peers may also be afraid to give direct evidence of disliking. In addition, non-aggressive rejected peers are more aware of their rejection by peers and are more likely to acknowledge it than aggressive-rejected children, leading them to experience greater discomfort and emotional distress (Zakriski et al., 1997). Although aggressive-rejected children are mainly disliked by their peers, they may belong to peer cliques and receive some social support, while non-aggressive rejected peers are more often excluded from peer networks.

    In addition, other differences between these two groups of rejected children are their appraisals of and their emotional responses to peer rejection. In regards to appraisals, aggressive-rejected children are more self-favoring, view interactions more positively, and distort the rejection they experience to fit their positive perceptions (Zakriski et al., 1997). In contrast, non-aggressive rejected children were more accurate in their appraisals of social acceptance and rejection, often having more pessimistic views of their peers’ social preferences. Moreover, in terms of emotional responses to peer rejection non-aggressive rejected peers report more feelings of loneliness, social dissatisfaction, negative self-concepts, and lower self-esteem than average-status or aggressive-rejected children (Zakriski et al., 1997). It is important and relevant to consider these differences between aggressive and non-aggressive rejected peers because they influence how each group copes with their peer rejection. Research suggests that aggressive-rejected children are more likely to utilize avoidance coping techniques such as repression or blunting that are effective as short-term strategies, allowing them to feel better about themselves and their social situations, but ineffective as long-term problem-focused solutions (Zakriski et al., 1997). Meanwhile, nonaggressive-rejected children are more apt to use coping strategies, in which they monitor their peer rejection, proving to be an ineffective short-term technique (i.e., making them more aware of their rejection from peers), but helping them in the long-term by making them less likely to be rejected overtime. By understanding the differences between aggressive and non-aggressive rejected peers, counselors can help children from these groups develop the most appropriate and effective coping techniques to handle the stress of peer rejection.

    (2) According to Malcolm Klein (1971), gangs are any identifiable group of individuals whom recognize themselves as a distinct group, are generally perceived by others as a distinct aggregation, and have been involved in a sufficient number of delinquent acts that have lead to a consistent negative response from neighborhood residents and law enforcement officials (Davis, 1999). There are several potential contributing factors that influence a child or adolescent to join a gang. One potential contributing factor is the child’s perception of opportunities in his or her environment. Individuals who perceive few or no opportunities for growth and live in low-resourced families and communities are more apt to join gangs as an alternative to rejection. In this way, poverty, deprived families, and society’s political/economic neglect lead youth to join gangs. Another potential contributing factor that influences an adolescent to join a gang is his or her ethnicity. In particular, members of ethnic groups that have experienced discrimination in work, housing, residence, income, socioeconomic status, education, and language, are more likely to join a gang (Davis, 1999). In addition, minority and immigrant families are typically poor/underemployed, leading them to be preoccupied with financial survival, which in turn makes them less likely to pay attention or spend time with their children (leading them to engage in more gang association/involvement). Furthermore, many minority youth also experience a lack of strong ties or relatedness to American-born children, leading them to experience alienation and reluctance from their “mainstream” peers to accept them in their social groups. Thus, a gang provides minority children with a “surrogate family” as well as a primary youth cohort group (Davis, 1999). Furthermore, an individual’s age is also a contributing factor as to whether or not a child joins a gang or not. As noted by Davis (1999), gang members are typically between the ages of 10 to 22, with a mean age of 12 for first joining a gang. In particular, adolescence is a stage of life in which youth have weak social control, leading them to be more apt to participate in gang activity.

    Moreover, there are many perceived and real benefits that children/adolescents can reap from joining a gang. One benefit that gang membership provides is that of status and identify for the young person, allowing him or her to stand out from the crowd with gang colors, language, hand signals, etc. (Davis, 1999). Another perceived and potentially real benefit of being in a gang is that membership can provide youth with feelings of being protected from harm, since most gangs are part of high-risk neighborhoods with other rival gangs. Many gang members are obligated to support other members who are attacked and to provide retaliation if someone in the gang is attacked (Davis, 1999). Also, as mentioned above, another perceived benefit of joining a gang is the promise of a substitute family, which will offer the youth acceptance and affiliation (both of which he or she may never have encountered before). An additional benefit of joining a gang is that it acts as a “safe haven” to which adolescents can turn to in order to avoid gang recruitment practices such as stealing personal money and physical assault. For instance, many gangs may act extremely violent towards a non-member in order to coerce others into joining their gang (Davis, 1999). Finally, some other perceived benefits of joining a gang include the youth’s belief that they will have power, respect, control, and become an important member of one’s community. Many children from impoverished areas have had limited control over their lives, leading them to join gangs to do what they want. It is important to understand the youth’s motives behind joining a gang in order to help them eventually leave or overcome their gang community and affiliation.

    Reply

    • Amanda Thomas
      Nov 13, 2013 @ 19:36:06

      Kirsten,

      I like that you mentioned that kids interested in joining a gang or even those who are in a gang find a sense of power, respect, and control in their membership. This is both a real and a perceived benefit. It’s real like you said because the young kids who are searching for belonging see a gang as a means to exert control over their environment. It’s also perceived too because of the lack of stability involved in gang membership.

      Reply

    • Kristina Glaude
      Nov 13, 2013 @ 20:47:31

      Kirsten –
      I liked how you mentioned about appraisals when discussing peer rejections with children. As I feel it is important to have all facts and events around a situation when reviewing a situation with a child. Even though an aggressive-rejected child may interpret the interaction with a peer as a positive one it does not mean that it was supposed to be positive. As children are often seeking to belong to the group it could just take an alternative view to help a child adjust and then reconnect with their peers.

      Reply

    • Brandon Pare
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 12:37:10

      Kristen
      I enjoyed your detailed evaluation of the rejection of students by their peers. I agree that this can have significant developmental and social impacts on the child. When aggressive children are rejected this can have a significant impact on their behavior causing them to be potentially more aggressive which only hurts their chances even more for being accepted by their peers. Rejection can reinforce any potential negative self image the child has of themselves. Continuous rejection gives the child more of a belief that their is something wrong with them. This occurs in both aggressive-rejected and non aggressive-rejected.

      Reply

    • Katrina Mitchell
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 17:11:18

      Kirsten,
      You mentioned the subjective perspective of children who experience rejection. For instance, non-aggressive rejected children feel stressed out by rejection because of the the overt behavior demonstrated by other children against them. Then, children facing aggressive rejected children are fearful to show rejection towards them. This is the most significant perspective to consider, all of the children who are effected by rejection.

      Reply

  2. Amanda Thomas
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 19:30:29

    The difference between aggressive rejected children and nonaggressive rejected children is their behavior. Aggressive rejected children are loud, physical with their peers and the way they carry themselves, impulsive and antagonistic, whereas nonaggressive rejected children are the opposite; quiet, shy, introverted, submissive. Aggressive rejected children have little insight into how their behavior influences those around them. They are not aware that they have been rejected by their peers. Since aggressive rejected children lack this insight they are almost unscathed by peer rejected. However, nonaggressive rejected children are very aware of their social rejection by their peers. They are concerned with how others view them and struggle to cope with the revelation that they do not fit in. Nonaggressive rejected children are more resistant to change in comparison to aggressive rejected children. Although, it is difficult for aggressive rejected children to identify there is a problem. Because of the way these to types of children interpret and view their peers significantly impacts long term effects of their rejection. Nonaggressive rejected children are more likely to develop psychological problems or consequences of their rejection. However both are at risk to developing mental health problems, long term school/ academic problems, and internalizing / externalizing symptoms. Identifying these differences is essential in the proper treatment of the child who may be presenting with the aforementioned difficulties.

    A child may be inclined to join a gang for a number of reasons. Perceived status, individuality, standing out from the crowd, and belonging to and representing an organization or something larger than yourself are some of the reasons a child or adolescent may want to join a gang. Gang membership can provide real and perceived benefits. A gang can provide a sense of belonging like a family could provide. The gang serves as a family by providing close interpersonal relationships, support, and security. A gang is also comes together to protect its gang members. An impressionable youth may view the gang and it’s associated territory as a safe haven to protect them from physical harm. They may only see the security and unity that the gang can offer but neglect to see the danger that is often associated with gang affiliation.

    Reply

    • Kristina Glaude
      Nov 13, 2013 @ 20:39:47

      Amanda –
      I like how you mentioned the family aspect within gangs. Even though each gang is structured differently they all have similar foundation thoughts and principles. Within the gang the key elements of family, support and structure are all present and are appealing for young children when they are lacking these items within their current home life.

      Reply

    • Katrina Mitchell
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 17:30:12

      Amanda,
      You elaborate on, in my perspective, one of the most convincing factors for a child/adolescent to join a gang. Providing a sense of family for a child/adolescent who has never had that experience must be a truly fulfilling sensation, especially when the members of a gang can provide support, security, and safety. For a child/adolescent who lives in a part of society absorbed in “gang culture” these factors are significant when he/she would otherwise be fending for themselves.

      Reply

  3. Kristina Glaude
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 20:32:55

    1) A few differences between nonaggressive-rejected and aggressive-rejected children can be seen. The first difference can be seen with the interaction that they have with others. According to Zakriski et. al. nonaggressive-rejected children can be seen to display behaviors such as submissive, shy and withdrawn. This compares to aggressive-rejected children who display behaviors such as starting fights, bulling and threating other peers. The second difference can be seen in the way that the youth responds to the rejected behaviors of their peers. This difference can be noted as nonaggressive youth may struggle with the peer group resistance as they change their behaviors where as aggressive-rejected youth may not have this stumbling block to overcome. These differences are relevant because no child ever handles peer rejection the same. Aggressive-rejected children according to Zakriski et. al. are not given good feedback from their peers in regards to what they do not like about the youths behavior. If the youth does note feedback given to them they consider it to be positive and continue their aggressive behaviors. This is compared to the nonaggressive-rejected youth which is often the focus of other kinds of victimization from their peers. The nonaggressive-rejected youth is more aware of peer rejection. They tend to become problem-focused when seeking salutations to problems. This method of coping allows for the youth to feel less rejected over time as they change and adapt their behavior to have less rejection from their peers.
    2) There are several potential factors that contribute to a child/adolescent joining a gang. A child tends to join a gang between the ages of 10 – 12. I thought that the chart on page 235 of Davis’s reading was interesting to show the mean ages that gang members completed tasks at. The ages that the child completes tasks are young and impressionable ages. Often if children do not have enough supervision, stimulation and structure in their daily life they turn to other avenues in order to obtain what they are looking for. Another contributing factor to a youth joining a gang is if they know or related to someone that is already currently in the gang. This connection to someone else in a gang can be a contributing factor that connects the youth to wanting to join a gang. A child would consider joining a gain for several reasons. Some of these reasons are real and some are perceived benefits to the joining of the gang. Gangs can be seen in areas around the world that have never been exposed to the urban environment. These individuals are gaining reference to gangs and activities that gangs would do from such things as music videos, movies and advertisements. The gang lifestyle allows according to Davis (1999) for youth to overcome barriers that stand in their way. Some of these barriers are things as low income, racism, struggling in school, difficulties with cultural values, difficulty with the new language, and limited family support. The gang allows for the youth to locate and feel connected to others. It also allows for the youth to locate and fill voids that they perceive as occurring by the gang. These things that the gang provides are financial support, activities to do, independence, purpose and membership to a group. When an individual joins a gang it allows for them to create another path for compared to what they originally believed was able to occur can no longer occur or needs to be changed and adjusted. With this adjustment gangs allow for the individual to go down avenues that were not necessarily able to be explored before.

    Reply

    • Angela Vizzo
      Nov 14, 2013 @ 18:52:19

      Kristina, your discussion of factors that contribute to youth joining gangs is very insightful. I like how you touched on a wide variety of factors that could lead a young person into a gang. You also do a nice job discussing the difference in rejection of aggressive and non-aggressive children. I especially liked how you included the role that peer behavior plays in the perception of rejection.

      Reply

    • Stacie
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 20:55:31

      I also found the table in Davis article interesting and was struck (although not surprised) by how young the children are being exposed to gang life and becoming members. It was informative to read the differences among types of gangs, especially as it relates to the average age of members. Although older members are rare, certain gangs appear to have higher concentrations of older teenagers or individuals in their early 20s, while others have children much younger representing them.

      Reply

  4. Julianna Aguilar
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 22:17:08

    It is easy to assume that all children who are rejected by their peers feel and behave in the same way. However, Zakriski, Jacobs, and Coie (1999) highlight important differences between two specific types of rejected children: non-aggressive and aggressive. To start, non-aggressive rejected children have qualities more consistent with the stereotype of a rejected child. For example, they tend to be aware that they are disliked by their peers, and, consequently, that rejection is experienced as stressful. Contributing to this stress is a tendency to respond with a sensitizers-monitors coping strategy in which they are alert to threats and negative aspects of their experience. In addition, they are likely to become more withdrawn and isolated. Aggressive rejected children, on the other hand, do not report as much stress as their non-aggressive rejected counterparts. There are two main explanations for this difference. First, these children may be less aware of being disliked by peers due to receiving ambiguous feedback from them (e.g., peers are less like to verbalize their dislike to due fear of being victimized by the aggressive child, the aggressive child is less aware of his or her status, or the aggressive child may choose to ignore that dislike). Second, these children tend to have small groups of friends that may buffer against the effects of peer rejection. These factors contribute to more favorable appraisals from these children in which they ignore or distort information so that they view peer interactions more positively. That is, they tend to respond with a repressors-blunters coping strategy. Considering these differences in emotion and behavior is important for many reasons, particularly for informing the appropriate intervention for aggressive versus non-aggressive rejected children. For example, given that non-aggressive children tend to withdraw, an effective intervention may be social skills training in order to help these children interact with their peers more regularly. Aggressive rejected children who are seemingly unaware of their status, in contrast, would likely not benefit from the same intervention. Overall, it is important to understand the differences between these two types of rejected children in order to implement the most appropriate interventions.

    There are several important factors that can contribute to an individual joining a gang. Though this list is not exhaustive, Davis (1999) sites, for example, a worsening of the underclass, few job opportunities, a high crime rate, lack of alternative activities, poor academic performance, and racial segregation, among other factors. In addition to these contributing factors, there are perceived and real benefits to joining a gang, though it may seem undesirable to the outside world. Some of these benefits include being part of a community, being part of an antithesis against society, having a “surrogate” family, finding one’s true identity and culture, and being apart of something larger than oneself, among other reasons. For example, gang meaning and rituals take different shape depending on the ethnic origin of the gang (e.g., the hybrid “cholo” culture of Mexican-Americans). Thus, the gang acts as an outlet for the expression of culture. Overall, gangs form as the result of a variety of factors and come to function as a pseudo community that acts as an outlet for both personal and group support and expression.

    Reply

    • Angela Vizzo
      Nov 14, 2013 @ 18:46:29

      Julianna, I really liked your discussion on the differences between non aggressive rejected children and aggressive rejected children. You covered a lot of important points that were discussed in the reading. I also like how you brought the disadvantages of the lower-class into your discussion of why adolescents join gangs.

      Reply

    • Brandon Pare
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 12:50:15

      Julianna
      I agree with you that gangs can take the role of a community for the individual that joins them. The can potentially provide the individual with a support network that they do not have in their lives. They can be a financial rescue for those that live in impoverish areas. Also connections to gangs become even stronger when their are linking factors between the individual members identity and the identity of the gang.

      Reply

    • Emily B
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 16:54:17

      I also picked up in the readings that non-aggressive children are more able to connect with peers. Non-aggressive children may be disliked by some of their peers but they also may be able to connect with other children who feel rejected. Non-aggressive children are better able to do this because they are able to appraise their interactions with their peers.

      Reply

  5. Brandon Pare
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 22:32:12

    1. Aggression is one behavior that can be predictive of rejection by peers. But whether it is considered to be a rejectable behavior is based on group norms that occur among peers. So in some groups aggression could be grounds for rejection while in others it could just be seen as deviant behavior not on the grounds of rejection. According to Zakriski et al, “There is some evidence that aggressive children who are rejected do not receive as much overt exclusion or abuse from peers as do those who are not aggressive or intimidating” (1997, p424-425). These children that are not considered aggressive or intimidating can become victimized by the peer group. About half the children that appear to be socially rejected in class are aggressive. One main characteristic that signifies the aggressive from the non-aggressive children is that non-aggressive children appear to be more withdrawn. Peer rejection no matter on which rejected groups has consequences on development. According to Zakriski et al, “62% of rejected-aggressive children exhibited adjustment problems in early adolescence” compared to “34% of rejected-nonaggressive children”(1997, p427). According to self measures that rejected-aggressive boys completed there was a distinct pattern of increasing in both internalizing and externalizing symptomatology compared to all other groups of boys. According to Zakriski at al (1997) out of all groups rejected-aggressive adolescent boys appear to have the toughest adjustment period in adolescence.
    2. There are plenty of reasons to not join gangs in this country. But there are thousands of teens each year that do so. They do so because to them this is justifiable. Sometimes the potential pros can outweigh the cons. For those growing up in a world without control gangs offered an individual the control that they seek. The gang can also offer identity for individuals. Lets say a teen is struggling to figure out who he is. The gang could offer him purpose. The gang can also fill the gaps in individual’s lives. It could be someone’s source of income, serve as a protector, the family model for the teen, a friend, or a social group. Some people may join gangs because it is what is socially acceptable and is seen as the only way to survive or to be cool in their neighborhood. Gangs can be empowering. Some may feel that they are weak so they could join a gang to make themselves appear confident or strong. Individual’s may join a gang because they see it as some form of honor. That joining a gang is a prideful or rite of passage because everyone they know in or out of their family before them has done so. They also may join a gang because of the particular race they are so they can feel support by others of the same background. Finally individuals may join a gang out of violence. They either are seeking violence, wish to cause harm to others, or they are joining a gang out of revenge.

    Reply

    • Amanda Thomas
      Nov 14, 2013 @ 09:05:17

      Brandon- you said that teens join in gangs because to them it s justifiable. Teens who make this choice rely on the gang to provide them with control, identity, purpose… All the things you mentioned. Its the easiest alternative they have to feel safe and important.

      Reply

    • Kirsten Chirichetti
      Nov 15, 2013 @ 18:24:53

      Brandon, I really like how you mentioned that gangs could offer an adolescent a sense of identity. In particular, adolescents are at a stage in development where they are trying to figure out who they are, who they want to be, and where they may be going in the future. For this reason, gangs can provide a teen with a sense of belonging and purpose in life. In addition, adolescents may be unsure of what they want from life and by joining a gang they can have shared goals or visions for the future. Moreover, adolescence is a period in which individuals focus more on their peers (as opposed to their family members), looking to them for support and care. In this way, the gang can provide the teen in essence a substitute family, protecting the individual from others in the neighborhood, giving him or her financial funds, and offering advice or guidance to him or her (whether it is appropriate/realistic or not).

      Reply

  6. Katrina Mitchell
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 23:38:38

    Though rejected children generally experience poor school adjustment, delinquent behavior, and psychological disorder, a couple of differences between nonaggressive-rejected and aggressive-rejected children vary. Nonaggressive-rejected children are often victimized by their peers while aggressive-rejected children don’t receive such overt abuse and are less likely to be excluded by their peers. Psychologically, nonaggressive-rejected children are more withdrawn, timid and submissive than aggressive-rejected children. Aggressive-rejected children, on the other hand, are strongly predicted to develop criminality and tend to exhibit issues with adjustment during adolescence. Aggressive-rejected children further vary from nonaggressive-rejected children according to sex. Research shows that aggressive-rejected boys show higher symptomatology for both internalizing and externalizing behaviors leading to the poorest adjustment during adolescence. Similarly, aggressive-rejected girls strongly predicts externalizing behaviors leading to adolescent disorder.

    A couple of potential contributing factors for a child/adolescent to join a gang include being cast aside from a community that does not respect them, having a control or fulfilling a sense of control, creating a sense of community formed by commonalities, seeking a sense of belonging, self, and place in social order, a collective response to shared rejection, for parent substitutes of children/adolescents who are emotionally abandoned, membership that confers status and identity, protection from harm, and/or support and safety. Children/adolescents consider joining a gang for numerous different reasons that can be affected by their race and ethnicity. For instance, Latino individuals value social relationships among friends and family. Therefore, Latino gangs seek to provide a place where children/adolescents can feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves automatically providing instant camaraderie. Chinese gangs first emerged in the 1980s in an attempt to gain social control valued in the traditional Chinese community and it’s relations. Vietnamese gangs are contributed to by youths who fail in the American educational system therefore not measuring up to the American Dream. For Vietnamese children/adolescents, a gang provides the benefits of financial support, affiliation, activity, and independence when the American Dream does not.

    Reply

    • Julianna Aguilar
      Nov 14, 2013 @ 11:39:23

      Katrina, I also found the point about Vietnamese-Americans joining gangs as a result of failing at the American dream very interesting. When talking about the American Dream, all that ever seems to be discussed are the variety of opportunities and all of the amazing things one can achieve by seizing those opportunities. However, the consequences of failing to meet those dreams are rarely brought to light. In this instance, it is understandable that these individuals might join a gang in order to again try to find their identity and sense of purpose after a perceived failure at their initial attempt to do so.

      Reply

    • Emily B
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 17:01:09

      I enjoyed how you mentioned different cultures and the reasons why they join gangs. Latino culture are very focused on family and if a child becomes rejected from their family they may find joining a gang to be beneficial to them. Gangs may provide a sense of family that they are missing.

      Reply

  7. Anthony Rofino
    Nov 14, 2013 @ 09:07:35

    1) While all rejected children can experience psychological disorders and poor adjustment at school, etc., some differences between nonaggressive-rejected and aggressive-rejected children are as follows: first, nonagressive-rejected children tend to be reserved and quiet. They tend to feel like they are victimized by their peers and that they don’t belong in any social group. Agressive-rejected children, on the other hand are aggressive, argumentative, and typically bully other children. They are less likely to feel rejected or victimized by peers due to the fact that they typically have a small contingency of friends or the other children are less likely to outwardly stigmatize them, as they are afraid of the repercussions coming from the agressive-rejected children.

    2) Children join gangs for many reasons. Some of these include: rejection from one’s family, longing for a sense of belonging, peer pressure from other adolescents who are in gangs, a sense of honor or pride, a sense of purpose and not feeling small in our large world, etc. Whatever the reason, while gangs do many negative activities, the people in them perceive some positivity from their situation. As described in some of the reasons, gangs provide a sense of community, family, and friendship that the adolescent may not get from home/school/the community. Typically, gangs are associated with certain ethnicities/cultures and it is a way for an adolescent to build a community that links them to their roots. Gangs are also supportive of their members, believing that commitment to the gang is the most important aspect of life. This gives the adolescent a a sense of purpose (serving their gang) to their life that they feel would be meaningless without it. For those who feel weak or have low self-esteem, a gang can provide protection and a sense of safety that one may not have without the gang. In short, if gangs were not defined by so many negative characteristics, they really would be helpful to an adolescent, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

    Reply

    • Julianna Aguilar
      Nov 14, 2013 @ 11:23:08

      Anthony, I like how you mentioned that gangs, if constructed more positively, could be very beneficial to the adolescent. It is easy to judge gangs as purely destructive (e.g., becoming involved with drugs, crime, etc.) to any individual who joins. However, for most of these adolescents, they provide a safe haven as well as social supports for those who share similar values and ethnic backgrounds, for example. Unfortunately, like you mentioned, there are many negative aspects of gangs that seem to largely outweigh the positive characteristics.

      Reply

    • Kirsten Chirichetti
      Nov 15, 2013 @ 18:38:35

      Anthony, I really like that you brought up the fact that aggressive-rejected children are less likely to feel rejected or victimized by their peers because others are afraid of the possible repercussions coming from these children. Aggressive-rejected children are more apt to be avoided by others out of fear that they may physically or verbally aggress, threaten, or assault them. For this reason, instead of stigmatizing aggressive-rejected children, other students may have a higher degree of tolerance for them as opposed to non-aggressive-rejected peers. When we discussed this point in class, I also thought a lot about gender stereotypes and what role that they may play in children’s rejection of their peers. In particular, for young boys (to some degree) it is encouraged by parents/peers to be the “strongest,” play rough, or to be aggressive. I was wondering if this stereotype of young boys may also impact why aggressive-rejected male children are less likely to feel victimized or stigmatized by their peers. It may be that the aggressive-rejected boy’s violent/aggressive behaviors have some degree of normalcy that other children can relate to. In addition, I wonder if aggressive-rejected girls are more stigmatized for violent/assaultive behavior towards others and if the experience of rejection is different from their male rejected peers?

      Reply

  8. Stacie Z.
    Nov 14, 2013 @ 11:46:04

    (1)One of the major differences between nonaggressive-rejected children and aggressive-rejected children is the awareness or perception they have of other students’ attitudes towards them. Aggressive-rejected children are more likely to not recognize that classmates dislike them and their behavior. This may be due to the hesitancy of children to stand up to aggressive peers and overtly demonstrate their dislike and disapproval of these peers. In contrast, nonaggressive-rejected children are often very aware of peer dislike and subsequently feel emotional and psychological distress as a result. The article highlights this difference by noting that nearly 70% of nonaggressive-rejected were socially isolated as compared to 55% of aggressive-rejected children having at least two peer relationships (Zakriski et al., 1997, p. 430). The authors summarize the difference in awareness of peer dislike and emotional consequences between the two types of rejected children such that “it appears that while aggressive-rejected children are no better liked by their peers, overt evidence of this peer dislike is not usually directed toward them as strongly as it is directed at nonaggressive-rejected children” (p. 431).

    Taking into account these differences in how different groups of rejected children perceive the level of dislike and inclusion by their peers, in addition to emotional and developmental consequences experienced as a result of these interactions with peers, it becomes evident that the same approach may not be as effective for the two groups. Interventions that focus on the transactions that occur between the rejected child and his/her larger social network, as opposed to an emphasis on rejection being due to qualities inherent in the child, could be most effective. Teaching prosocial skills is frequently considered to be the way to assist rejected children of both types to build relationships with peers, but some research has demonstrated that improvements in rejected children relationships showed no greater improvement than those students who were not coached. Aggressive-rejected children probably benefit most from interventions designed to reduce their reliance on aggressive behaviors in relationships with other children.

    (2)I thought the concept Davis (1999) brought up regarding minority children who are born here in the U.S. or immigrate at a young age often lack strong ties to their ethnic culture, but at the same time sense reluctance on the part of American peers to include or accept them, in relation to gang involvement. Gangs, which are frequently based on members’ common ethnicity, “becomes the ‘substitute’ or ‘surrogate’ family, as well as the primary youth cohort group” (p. 233). For example, children of parents who have recently immigrated to the U.S., the parents’ focus can be almost entirely on building financial security and providing basic material needs to their children, while at the same time being unable to provide the emotional support and guidance necessary. Furthermore, young adolescence is the average age when gang members first join a gang although exposure to gang life occurs at even younger ages. Adolescence is already a difficult time for most, of transition to greater autonomy and responsibility, and becoming a member of a gang presents a “safe haven” for these children. Performance in school is frequently a factor in joining gangs such that success in school can be tied to lower rates of gang involvement.

    As difficult as it may to understand why a child or adolescent feels positive about joining a gang, it is crucial to investigate what perceived or real benefits he/she feels comes along with being a gang member. To those who do not struggle with the numerous factors contributing to gang involvement, it is easy to highlight the public problems gangs represent such as drugs, violence, disregard for authority, and criminality. While statistics support gang influence in each of these areas, for the children and adolescents who lack interpersonal relationships, resources, and are generally alienated from larger society, the gang actually represents protection from harm, status and identity, and a feeling of belonging. Children who do not feel connected to their ethnic culture embraced by their immigrant parents, but also feel marginalized by their American peers, believe they can find a middle ground in a gang. Latino gangs for example, may incorporate Anglo norms with traditions from their own cultural heritage.

    Reply

  9. Emily B
    Nov 14, 2013 @ 17:23:07

    There are several differences between nonaggressive-rejected and aggressive-rejected children. Aggressive-rejected children present as loud, impulsive and physical with their peers, while nonaggressive-rejected children present as more withdrawn, quite, and submissive. Aggressive-rejected children are more likely to develop psychopathology. Studies have shown that the presences of both aggression and peer rejection can lead to an increased chance of psychopathology in a child’s future. Also, there is a difference between appraisal style between aggressive-rejected children and nonaggressive-rejected children. Aggressive-rejected children are more positive with their appraisal of peer interactions, and are more self-favoring about their role in situations. While, nonaggressive-rejected children are more likely to see their peer interactions in a more realistic way and report more loneliness and lower self-esteem and lower self-concept. Also, aggressive-rejected children use avoidance techniques while nonaggressive-rejected children are more likely to use coping skills.

    Contributing factors in which children join gangs are the feeling of safety from harm that the child feels when joining a gang. Children live in neighborhoods that are often filled with violence. Children are exposed to rival gangs, violence, and inconsistent home lives. Children are promised that joining a gang will offer protection by promoting unity and retaliation against individuals or groups who pose a threat. Also, children view gang membership as a sign of status allowing them to feel a sense of power and a feeling of being unique. Children may also see a gang as a family. Children also join gangs to avoid being harassed by gang members, gang members often treat non-gang members with violence. Overall, children who join gangs are looking for a sense of security and to feel connected within their own community.

    Reply

    • Paige Hartmann
      Nov 15, 2013 @ 10:57:12

      Emily, I liked how you compared nonaggressive-rejected and aggressive-rejected children in terms of their appraisal style. It’s interesting how nonaggressive-rejected children tend to have a more accurate perception of their interactions with others which leads to them be more likely to utilize their coping skills. In comparison, aggressive-rejected children tend to incorrectly appraise their interactions with others in a positive manner, thus utilizing avoidance rather than coping skills like their nonaggressive counterparts.

      Reply

  10. Angela Vizzo
    Nov 14, 2013 @ 18:24:07

    There are a variety of differences between non aggressive-rejected children and aggressive-rejected children. Non aggressive rejected children often have more internalizing problems, while aggressive-rejected children have more externalizing problems. Non aggressive rejected children also often experience the rejection as more stressful than aggressive-rejected children; in addition, they report clear feedback that they are disliked by their peers, experience more social isolation, have increased feelings of loneliness, have a negative self-concept and low self-esteem. On the other hand, aggressive-rejected children tend to underestimate how much peers disliked them, reported the same feelings of loneliness as the average child, had at least average self-esteem and tended to overestimate their own competence. Considering these differences is important when treating rejected children and implementing the appropriate intervention strategies.

    The article by Davis (1999), pointed out four factors that contribute to why adolescents join gangs and the benefits offered to them in joining. Gang membership confers status and identity for the members. Adolescents also join gangs due to to the feeling of being protected from harm, and the gang provides a substitute family (especially in terms of support and safety). Finally, many feel that the gang is the only safe place to turn from intimidation, threat to physical safety, and theft.

    Reply

    • Paige Hartmann
      Nov 15, 2013 @ 10:51:32

      Angela, I liked how you differentiated between nonaggressive-rejected and aggressive-rejected children by stating that nonaggressive-rejected children tend to have more internalizing problems as opposed to aggressive-rejected children who often exhibit more externalizing problems. It’s interesting to examine how the same phenomena of rejection impacts these two different types of children in a different manner.

      Reply

    • Anthony Rofino
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 21:19:02

      Angela, I like that you mentioned that aggressive rejected children tend to have about average self esteem. When one hears the word rejected, I think the average person conjures up an image of a child more akin to the nonagressive-rejected child, a child with low self esteem and few friends. We as future therapists really need to make sure that the children we work with are not ruled out of being considered a “rejected child” just because they have decent self-esteem.

      Reply

  11. Sara Grzejszczak
    Nov 14, 2013 @ 18:47:15

    There are a few distinct differences between nonaggressive-rejected children and aggressive-rejected children. The major difference between the two groups is that one group of rejected children is aggressive and the other group of children is not. Children who are rejected and are nonaggressive find the rejection to be more stressful than children who are aggressive and rejected do. Researchers believe this may be partly due to the fact that peers treat both types of rejected youths differently. Aggressive-rejected children do not seem to experience the overt active peer dislike that their nonaggressive-rejected counterparts do. This in turn makes nonaggressive-rejected children more aware of their rejection by peers and they are more likely to acknowledge it. Researchers feel that aggressive-rejected children may not see the overt, active rejection because their peers fear retaliation from the aggressive-rejected child. Both groups of children also acknowledge their peer rejection differently with their appraisals. Aggressive-rejected children underestimated how many of their peers disliked them while nonaggressive-rejected children seem to be aware of how many peers dislike them. While this underestimation could be due to inaccurate peer feedback studies that have controlled for the inaccurate feedback have found that they may underestimate rejection for other reasons as well. The final way that the two groups of rejected children differ is in their emotional responses to the peer rejection. Nonaggressive-rejected children are ore lonely and have social dissatisfaction, they have lower self-esteem and have more negative concepts, and they report not wanting to maintain ongoing interactions with peers. Aggressive-rejected children in comparison have no differences in loneliness and social dissatisfaction than children who are of average-status. They also have positive beliefs about maintaining relationships with peers and the relationships that they have with peers. Considering these differences are important to researchers and practitioners alike because of the implementation of interventions for these rejected children. These two groups of children have different appraisals, coping strategies, and emotional responses to the rejection that they face and so they cannot be treated the same. Children who are aggressive-rejected will not fully understand the concept that they are rejected by peers because they do not overtly and actively see the rejection like nonaggressive-rejected children do. So in turn aggressive-rejected children will need different supports; non-aggressive rejected children on the other hand who are more aware of the rejection and who do not want to maintain relationships with peers, and in turn seem to isolate themselves more so than aggressive-rejected peers, will need extra supports to get them to interact with their peers.

    A couple of contributing factors to adolescents and children joining gangs are the potential rejection and alienation that they face and experience when they are new to the U.S. or if they do not have strong family ties. This can be seen in many gangs that are made up of just one nationality, ex. the Latin Kings, or a belief that is not mainstream, ex. the Skinheads or Neo-Nazi groups. Children are can also be born into the gangs if their mother, father, or in most cases both parents are gang members. There are a lot of benefits that the gangs tell children and adolescents about that make gangs seem like a good idea when they in reality do not have the benefits. A person would consider joining a gang because they get a status and a reputation with other people who live in their neighborhood; since many time gangs form in low income, inner city areas these people want a way to protect themselves from crime that is going on so if they join a gang others will not mess with them. An adolescent may also consider joining a gang because they will have group to fit in with, the gang has their own colors, secret language, and hand signs that no one else knows except those that are in the gang. Children who are from homes where they do not get a lot of support will see gangs as a plus because the gang “offers” a sense of belonging and a family substitute. Finally when people are being intimidated by other gangs or by a person in general, the gang will help the person and create a sense of “safety” for them. In reality these benefits do not work out the way that gangs say that they do. Many times gangs coerce individuals to join their gangs if they live in the same territory, even by using very violent means to do so. Individuals also find very quickly that gangs are not as forgiving and a tight knit unit that they were made out to be if a person gets caught by the police or starts trouble with a rival gang that was not called for by higher ups.

    Reply

    • Anthony Rofino
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 21:21:56

      Sara, I like that you mentioned that many adolescents join gangs when they are new to the country. That is one aspect I did not consider. I have considered the various ethnic links to gangs, but I did not even think about how it could consist of children new the US. This would provide a stable environment where they could escape the feeling of being an outsider in a new country. Thank you for opening my eyes to a potential reason for gang affiliation

      Reply

  12. Paige Hartmann
    Nov 14, 2013 @ 18:50:27

    Research suggests that non-aggressive children experience rejection differently than aggressive children, and also cope with their stress in varying manners. Aggressive behaviors are found to be highly predictive of rejection from peers. According to Zakriski et al. (1997), non-aggressive rejected children tend be victimized by their peers and experience more overt exclusions from their peers as compared to aggressive-rejected children. The main difference between nonaggressive-rejected children and aggressive-rejected children is their behavior. Nonaggressive-rejected children tend to be more shy and withdrawn, whereas aggressive-rejected children tend to exhibit “acting out” behaviors such as bulling or threatening peers. Furthermore, nonaggressive-rejected children are likely to experience difficulty with adjustment within adolescence and are also likely to develop criminality. It is important to consider these differences because each group experiences the same feelings of rejection within a different manner.

    Davis (1999) discusses a few potential contributing factors for a child/adolescent to join a gang, including fulfilling some needs within the child/adolescent’s life that might not otherwise be satisfied within the family or community they are from. Joining a gang provides the members with a sense of belonging, thus defining both the individual’s status and identity. An adolescent might join a gang to develop a sense of safety within their community since the gang would provide them from potential harm. Individuals who come from broken families may be interested in joining a gang to gain/build a supportive family that they never would have had otherwise.

    Reply

    • Stacie
      Nov 16, 2013 @ 20:46:09

      I think it is important that you point out how being a part of a gang can provide a “sense of safety,” that they directly interpret as protection from harm. This might be especially in true for urban areas that have the presence of several gangs and the gang’s turf is well-defined. Unfortunately, this promise of protection can also be a facade when gang members turn on other members, creating just as dangerous of a situation.

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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