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Karen Hennigan

Assistant Professor (Research) of Psychology

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-4269
Office: SGM 1004


Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

My current program of research aims to apply principles of social identity and social categorization theories to the pernicious problem of street gang affiliation among urban youth in the United States and Central America. A series of studies testing factors that may inadvertently promote gang association as well as factors that may help discourage gang association are underway. A spin-off from this effort includes the development of an assessment designed to identify youth at risk for joining street gangs that can be used to target prevention services toward youth most in need. Parts of this research take place in the context of regional efforts to prevent or suppress gang membership, delinquency and criminal offending. Applied contexts included in this work vary from neighborhood gang injunction policies to local gang prevention and gang intervention programs.

Research Keywords

Social Identity Theory, Prevention and Intervention with Street Gangs, Civil Gang Injunction, Program Evaluation

Other Research

As a paid consultant, (in collaboration with Chris Murray and others) I developed and implemented a survey of each County Juvenile Probation Department in California, developing information needed to assess each county's progress toward evidence-based practices in juvenile probation. The data were presented over a series of meetings to the commissioners and were used to develop and document the policies set out in a new Blueprint for an Outcome-Oriented Juvenile Justice System for the State of California ( ), 01/24/2009-01/23/2010  


Book Chapter

Hennigan, K., Maxson, C. (2012). New Directions in Street Gang Prevention for Youth: The Los Angeles Experience. Post-Ghetto: Reimagining South Los Angeles pp. 23. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Hennigan, K., Spanovic, M. (2012). Gang Dynamocs Through the Lens of Social Identity Theory. Youth Gangs in International Perspective pp. 127-149. New York: Springer.

Journal Article

Hennigan, K., Maxson, C., Sloane, D., Kolnick, K., Vindel, F. (2013). Identifying high risk youth for secodary gang prevention. Journal of Crime and Justice. Http://
Hennigan, K., Sloane, D. (2013). Improving Civil Gang Injunctions: How implmentation can affect gang dynamics, crime and violence. Criminology and Public Policy. Vol. 12 (1), pp. 7-41.
Maxson, C., Matsuda, K., Hennigan, K. (2011). Deterrability among gang amd nongang juvenile offenders: Are gang members more or less deterrable than other juvenile offenders?. Crime and Delinquency/ Sage Publications. Vol. 57 (4), pp. 516-543.
Maxson, C., Matsuda, K., Hennigan, K. (2011). Deterrability among gang and nongang juvenile offenders. Crime and Delinquency. Vol. 57 (4), pp. 516-543.
Vasquez, E., Lickel, B., Hennigan, K. (2009). Gangs, displaced, and group-based aggression. Aggressions and Violent Behavior / Elsevier. Vol. in press


Murray, C., Cohen, S., Hennigan, K., Kolnick, K. (2009). Juvenile Justice Operational Plan: Blueprint for an Outcome Oriented Juvenile Justice System.
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