Self-Worth and the Need to Belong
Juvenile Delinquency Paper
The self-help author Wayne Dyer once wrote that, "Self-worth comes from one thing…thinking that you are worthy." This quote captures the functional role of gangs: they exist because they serve a purpose. Gangs are attractive to recruits because they promise a variety of benefits. Though many members reap material benefits from joining, it is the psychological benefits which play a critical role in the decision to join a gang, particularly as it relates to self-worth and the need to belong. While some gang members often portray themselves with great machismo, think highly of themselves and are proud of what they have become, the majority of youths who join gangs suffer from a negative self-image (Miller, 2001). Opportunities to feel good about themselves in their family or at school are few and far between. Yablonsky (1997) tells us "The gangsters'...
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