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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Judith Hoorn

First Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Second Committee Member

Thomas Nelson

Third Committee Member

Ida Bowers


This study investigated the perceptions of Hmong youth gang members and professional workers related to the following research questions: How does a Hmong youth become a gang member? Why are Hmong youth involved in gangs? What are the benefits of being in a gang? What are the activities that Hmong youths do in a gang? How does a gang member get out of the gang? An open-ended survey questionnaire was used for the Hmong youth gang members. A standardized open-ended interview approach was used for the professional workers. Twenty-eight youth gang members and ten professional workers participated in this study. The data collected from this study were analyzed using description, classification, and interpretation techniques. The findings show that a Hmong youth can become a gang member by forming a gang, jumping in (being beaten), or committing a criminal activity. It was found that the youth gang members joined the gang for a variety of reasons, such as having siblings or friends who were in the gang, intimidation, discrimination, fun and excitement, family problems, or school problems. The most frequently stated reasons were gang friends and intimidation. The findings show that the gang provides the gang member friendship, social bonding, belonging, economic gain, respect, support, protection, fun and excitement. The activities that the youth gang members engage in include smoking, drinking, partying, dealing drugs, stealing, fighting, drive-by shootings, and home invasions. The study indicates that jumping out (being beaten), moving away, or getting married are the different ways that a Hmong youth gang member can get out of the gang.




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