Male gang members' perspectives on gang membership and the role of drugs
Please cite as follows: Wijnberg, M & Green, S. 2014. Male gang members' perspectives on gang membership and the role of drugs. Social Work, 50(2):284-302, doi:10.15270/50-2-400.
The original publication is available at http://socialwork.journals.ac.za/pub/article/view/400
Drugs play a pivotal role in the functioning of gangs, motivating deviant behaviour and meeting members’ physiological and belonging needs. To understand the process of engaging in and disengaging from a gang, a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods was utilised. The ecological perspective was used to identify various systems that influence the individual, whilst Maslow’s motivational theory was used to explain intrinsic needs that motivate human behaviour. The findings of the study reveal that gang members present with unique physiological and belonging needs, which must be understood by social workers in order to gain optimum results with intervention.