Presentation Title

Character Strengths Possessed by Hispanic/Latino Adults that Facilitate Gang Desistance

Faculty Mentor

Alejandro Morales

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:15 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 2:30 PM

Location

15-1808

Session

Social Science 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Research in gang desistance has been ignored by researchers in psychology. Although researchers have started examining the desistance process, the studies referenced present a deficiency model that ignores the character strengths that enables men to leave gangs. Gang desistance in this study is defined as the final and permanent cessation of all offenses and gang related-criminal activities. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study is to identify the character strengths of former Hispanic/Latino male gang members that facilitated their desistance from gang membership. Three questions we will be investigating are: 1) What are the specific strengths that promote desistance; 2) How did the strengths assist in desistance; and 3) Which strengths helped participants stay desisted? The sample is comprised of seven (N=7) former gang affiliated Hispanic/Latino males between the ages of 18-60 that were in a Southern Californian gang. In the preliminary findings, Forgiveness, Perseverance, Judgment, and Spirituality, character strengths classified in the VIA-Classification, were common themes shared by the respondents that facilitated gang desistance. The outcomes of their gang desistance have led the respondents to engage in meaningful work that had contributed to their well-being. These character strengths and facilitators should be investigated more thoroughly to develop character strength-based programs, a method commonly used in Counseling Psychology, for Hispanic/Latino males.

Summary of research results to be presented

Forgiveness, Perseverance, Judgement, and Spirituality, character strengths classified in the Values-In-Action Classification, were common themes found in the preliminary results. The character strengths shared among the majority of the respondents had a critical role that led to their gang desistance. Aside from the character strengths, other facilitators emerged that led to their desistance as well. "Shifting skills", described as implementing skills that were used for criminal activity to a positive way, and "navigating through politics", described as respecting the boundaries and rules of the present gang and/or gang you affiliate with, were also facilitators that assisted in successful desistance. The outcomes of their desistance have led the respondents to engage in meaningful work that had contributed to their well-being. These character strengths and facilitators should be investigated more thoroughly to develop character strength-based programs, a method commonly used in Counseling Psychology, for Hispanic/Latino males.

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Nov 18th, 2:15 PM Nov 18th, 2:30 PM

Character Strengths Possessed by Hispanic/Latino Adults that Facilitate Gang Desistance

15-1808

Research in gang desistance has been ignored by researchers in psychology. Although researchers have started examining the desistance process, the studies referenced present a deficiency model that ignores the character strengths that enables men to leave gangs. Gang desistance in this study is defined as the final and permanent cessation of all offenses and gang related-criminal activities. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study is to identify the character strengths of former Hispanic/Latino male gang members that facilitated their desistance from gang membership. Three questions we will be investigating are: 1) What are the specific strengths that promote desistance; 2) How did the strengths assist in desistance; and 3) Which strengths helped participants stay desisted? The sample is comprised of seven (N=7) former gang affiliated Hispanic/Latino males between the ages of 18-60 that were in a Southern Californian gang. In the preliminary findings, Forgiveness, Perseverance, Judgment, and Spirituality, character strengths classified in the VIA-Classification, were common themes shared by the respondents that facilitated gang desistance. The outcomes of their gang desistance have led the respondents to engage in meaningful work that had contributed to their well-being. These character strengths and facilitators should be investigated more thoroughly to develop character strength-based programs, a method commonly used in Counseling Psychology, for Hispanic/Latino males.