When Your Best Friend Is Murdered: Experiences of Grief and Trauma with Crew-involved Youth

by Stephanie Ueberall; Roberta Liggett

Jul 14, 2017

Trauma and Grief are two critical drivers of violence, yet these elements are often missing in discussions concerning youth violence, especially how we understand crews - building-based groups of youth whose conflicts revolve around turf and reputation rather than criminal enterprised.  Understanding the role of trauma and grief offers critical insights into how and why violence is sustained in crew-involved youth. 

Losing someone to murder is uniquely difficult to process and, disturbingly, crew-involved youth face this life experience frequently.  Death through murder is especially traumatic because death is sudden, horrific, and caused by another person.  Further, youth involved in crews often experience a variety of traumas and stressors throughout their lives.  When trauma symptoms and grief combine, it can lead to an experience known as complicated grieving, which is associated with worse health outcomes and prolonged distress.

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