The objectives of this study, guided by the principles of the social learning theory, were to explore the participation and motivations of gang members for involvement in deviant leisure activities. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with 30 former gang members residing in Chicago and central Illinois. The findings showed that their leisure behavior included house parties that typically included the use of drugs, alcohol, and sex; “hanging around” on street corners and “gangbanging” violence perpetrated against members of opposing gangs or other members of the same gang; and various types of vandalism. Motivations for involvement in deviant leisure included those outlined in the social learning theory, as well as thrill and pleasure from committing crimes and achieving flow-like states. The research confirmed that both individual factors and social processes contributed to explaining gang members' involvement in deviant pastimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-293
Number of pages16
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 4 2019


  • crime
  • deviant leisure
  • differential association
  • gangs
  • social learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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