Dana Peterson teaches and conducts research in the areas of youth violence, youth gangs and gang prevention, delinquency treatment, and sex/gender issues in delinquency and gang involvement. She is an Investigator on the “Process and Outcome Evaluation of G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training),” a multi-site longitudinal evaluation of a school-based gang prevention program. The evaluation is funded by the National Institute of Justice and directed by Professor Finn Esbensen of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is also a Co-Principal Investigator, with Professor David Duffee, on SOAR (Service Outcomes Action Research). This project is a long-term research-practice partnership that is developing and implementing evidence-based practice in two agencies that provide residential and community-based treatment to youth and their families. The goal of SOAR is to improve services to youth and families and enhance outcome achievement by providing continual, periodic feedback of data on client characteristics, specific treatment services, and outcomes. Professor Peterson serves on the National Youth Gang Advisory Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and she is an active member in the Eurogang Program, an international research network that is developing comparative studies of youth gangs in the U.S., Europe, and beyond.
Professor Peterson is particularly interested in the debate over whether gender-specific or gender-neutral theories of and responses to delinquency and youth gangs are necessary, as well as in the ways that gender structures delinquency and gang involvement. Her publications include co-authored articles in Criminology, Criminology & Public Policy, Evaluation Review, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, and Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, and chapters in American Youth Gangs at the Millennium (F.-A. Esbensen, L.K. Gaines, and S. G. Tibbetts, Eds.), Gangs in America , 3rd Ed . (C.R. Huff, ed.), The Eurogang Paradox (M.W. Klein, H.-J. Kerner, C.L. Maxson, and E.G.M. Weitekamp, eds.), and Responding to Gangs: Evaluation and Research (W.L. Reed and S.H. Decker, eds.). She is co-editor (with Frank van Gemert and Inger-Lise Lien) of a forthcoming book entitled Street Gangs, Migration, and Ethnicity (Willan Publishing).