Moving Towards a Quantitative Understanding of Thrasher's Threat-Cohesion Hypothesis

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Student Contributions
August 2011
Richard K. Moule Jr.

Frederic Thrasher's early work with youth gangs in Chicago continues to influence contemporary gang research. Thrasher's basic premise, that conflict with outside groups facilitates strong interpersonal ties between adolescents, has yet to undergo quantitative analysis.

 Using data from Wave II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health ("Add Health"), this conflict is measured by the aggregate number of juvenile arrests for property and violent crimes in a community. Multivariate regression is conducted to explore the impact of police threat on number of friendship nominations, while logistic regression is conducted to see if police threat is impacting relationship strength between respondent's first male and female friend. The results from both the multivariate and logistic regressions do not support Thrasher's hypothesis. Implications for future research are discussed.

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