Seeking a Secure Base: Gangs as Attachment Figures
Katherine De Vito
De Vito, K. (2019). Seeking a secure base: Gangs as attachment figures. Qualitative Social Work. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1177/1473325019852659
Lack of Family Consistency
Participants of the study all experienced a lack of family consistency with their primary caregivers. There was a disruption in their attachment.
Source: Nicolas Enriquez, The Daily News
Brotherhood, Sisterhood, Unity
Participants felt that gangs were a replacement family. When the primary attachment figure is absent, the youth looked outside to a gang to fill that void and provide what was missing, such as attention, support, affection, and a sense of unity.
Source: MSpencer Green AP US News
No Other Option
Some participants felt as if they had no other option but to join a gang because of social environment factors. Joining a gang seemed like it was an inevitable life course. With no secure attachment at home, participants had to look outside the family and gangs were readily available in the environment.
Source: Boston Globe/Chron
Death, Jail, or a Turnaround
Participants reached a point where they wanted a better life for themselves and wanted to embrace another life and a complete turnaround. They realized that staying in the gang lifestyle would only lead to a grim outcome like death or jail.