Youth with juvenile justice histories often reside in poorly resourced communities and report high rates of depression, gang involved networks, and STI-sexual related risk behaviors, compared to their counterparts. The primary aim of this study was to examine the relationship between social context (ie, a combined index score comprised of living in public housing, being a recipient of free school lunch, and witnessing community violence) and risk factors that are disproportionately worse for juvenile justice youth such as depression, gang involved networks and STI sexual risk behaviors. Data were collected from a sample of detained youth ages 14 to 16 (N = 489). Questions assessed demographics, social context, depression, gang-involved networks, and STI risk behaviors. Multiple logistic regression models, controlling for age, gender, race, school enrollment, and family social support, indicated that participants who reported poorer social context had double the odds of reporting being depressed; three times higher odds of being in a gang; three times higher odds of personally knowing a gang member; and double the odds of having engaged in STI-risk behaviors. These results provide significant information that can help service providers target certain profiles of youth with juvenile justice histories for early intervention initiatives.
- STI-risk behaviors
- gang-involved networks
- social context
- youth with detention histories