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UBC Theses and Dissertations

In and out of Aboriginal gang life : perspectives of Aboriginal ex-gang members Goodwill, Alanaise O.


This research project generated a categorical scheme to describe the facilitation of gang entry and exit for Aboriginal ex-gang members using the Critical Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954; Woolsey, 1986) as a method of qualitative data analysis. Former gang members responded to the questions: (a) What facilitated gang entry for you? (b) What facilitated gang exit for you? Participants provided 103 and 136 critical incidents which were categorized into two separate category schemes each containing 13 different categories. The 13 categories for gang entry were; engaging in physical violence, proving one’s worth, hanging around delinquent activity, family involved in gangs and following a family pattern; going to prison, gang becoming family and support system, looking up to gang members and admiring gang lifestyle, becoming dependant on gang, experiencing unsafe or unsupportive parenting practices, gaining respect by rank increase, reacting to authority, caught in a cycle of fear, and partying. The 13 categories for gang exit were; working in the legal workforce, accepting support from family or girlfriend, helping others stay out of or move away from gang life, not wanting to go back to jail, accepting responsibility for family, accepting guidance and protection, participating in ceremony, avoiding alcohol, publically expressing that you are out of the gang, wanting legitimate relationships outside gang life, experiencing a native brotherhood, stopping self from reacting like a gangster, and acknowledging the drawbacks of gang violence. Diverse methods of checking trustworthiness and credibility were applied to these category schemes, and it was found that both category schemes can be used confidently.

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