Jodi Miller found there to be three prevalent reasons for being involved in a street gang: neighborhood exposure to gangs, family problems, and if a family member is in a gang. Through her research she found that 90 percent of her subjects had at least two of those traits. Although her research was centered on girls, the film Boyz N the Hood serves as a theatrical testament to her findings; regardless of gender. Each of the main characters had the aforementioned attributes. Tre was forced to live with his father in South Central Los Angeles and despite his father's teachings and positive involvement, he encountered gang activity and violence daily through neighborhood exposure. His main circle of friends consisted of the two other leads in the movie- brothers "Doughboy" and Ricky. Ricky was an aspiring football player trying to secure his way into college on an athletic scholarship. His gang involvement was via Doughboy who was constantly struggling to escape the criticism and verbal abuse of his mother. Their mother was focused on glorifying Ricky's achievements and faultfinding all of Doughboy's; hence, why Doughboy turned to the street for a sense of identity. Although each degree of exposure varied between the three characters, it ultimately led to the same outcome: the loss of two great friends.
There is a notable distinction between Tre and the other characters. Tre's father, Furious Styles was willingly and consciously involved in his son's life. He constantly stressed the importance of responsibility when it came to all avenues of life: school, work, home, sex and family. Furious succeeded in balancing the role of a positive mentor and maintaining his position a disciplinary father; never losing the respect of his son in the process. As Tre's mother put it, "I can't teach him how to be a man, but you can". In spite of the continuous guidance and instruction of his father, Tre was inevitably exposed to gang violence because of the neighborhood they resided in.