The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3015.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 9:00 AM

Abstract #62431

Asian Youth Gangs: A Closer Look into the State of Mind of Asian Gangster Girls

Cliff Akiyama, MA, Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, 105 South 41st Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3018, (215) 746-2489,

As the population of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans continues to rise in the U.S, so do their healthcare needs. Unfortunately, not all Asian Americans are as uniformly educated, acculturated, and financially stable, as the myth of the "model minority" would have us suggest. Although adults from many nationality groups between API’s have adapted well to life in the U.S, serious problems have emerged among our youth. In particular, gang violence in the API community has increased dramatically nationwide. In Los Angeles County alone, there are currently 155 Asian gangs, with a membership of over 6,000. In neighboring Orange County, gang involvement has reached an all time high with over 65 documented gangs and a membership of 2,000. Even more disturbing is the increase of Asian females involved in gang activity. In Orange County, where the Asian gang population makes up 12%, there are 140 Asian female gang members, up 60% from last year. The author interviewed over 400 gang members out in the streets, jails, and juvenile halls, using a target questionnaire; concomitantly went a step further disguised as a gang member. This study identified several distinct differences between the ideology and the “state of mind” between Asian male and female gang members. Moreover, the author identified six contributing factors, which lead to involvement in gangs (i.e.: lack of adult supervision, breakdown of the family, victimization due to racism, culture shock, need for survival, and monetary profit). The purpose of this study is to present timely data on API youth gangs, particularly female gangs; offer strategies for prevention/intervention to help control this epidemic.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Asian and Pacific Islander, Youth Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Emerging Health Issues among API Populations

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA