Daniel Wegerhoff

Towards a Comprehensive Understanding of Gangs as Groups.

Daniel Wegerhoff profile-picture photograph

Daniel Wegerhoff

Daniel Wegerhoff

PhD Student
School of Psychology


Despite the prevalence and longevity of gang research, the gang field has been impacted by several theoretical roadblocks which have limited the achievement of key research objectives, such as the development of accurate gang conceptualisations and theories/explanations. The aim of Daniel's doctoral dissertation is therefore twofold: (1) to develop a conceptualisation of gangs that overcomes these issues; and (2) to develop a systematic approach to constructing theories for gang related occurrences.  His thesis will review the problems affecting gang conceptualisation and explanation/theory generation and will draw upon insights from the philosophy of science and scientific method to provide specific solutions to the identified problems. The overall aim of this project is to improve the conceptual and explanatory approaches utilised in gang research to ultimately facilitate the production of comprehensive explanations for gang related occurrences that can inform effective intervention and prevention strategies. Daniel is also in the clinical psychology diploma programme and is scheduled to resume his clinical training in 2021.


Bachelor of Science in Psychology with First Class Honours, Victoria University of Wellington
Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology and German, Victoria University of Wellington

Research Interests

Gangs, group processes, scientific explanation, theory construction, explanations of offence related behaviours


Heffernan, R., Wegerhoff, D., & Ward, T. (2019). Dynamic risk factors: Conceptualization, measurement, and evidence. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 48, 6-16. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2019.06.004

Wegerhoff, D., Dixon, L., & Ward, T. (2019). The conceptualization of gangs: Changing the focus. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 47, 58-67. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2019.03.004

Dixon, L., Harkins, L., & Wegerhoff, D. (2019). Incorporating sociocultural and situational factors into explanations of interpersonal violent crime. Psychology, Crime & Law, 25(6), 675-692. doi:10.1080/1068316X.2018.1557183

PhD topic

Towards a Comprehensive Understanding of Gangs as Groups.


Dean of Science
Wellington Faculty of Science

School of Psychology


Explanation of Psychopathology and Crime Lab

Directed by Professor Tony Ward

The Explanation of Psychopathology and Crime (EPC) lab in the School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington is led by Professor Tony Ward. We are interested in exploring theoretical issues in Clinical and Forensic Psychology, you can find more information about our projects on our website.

Interpersonal and Family Aggression Lab

Directed by Louise Dixon

The Interpersonal and Family Aggression Lab (IFAL) is situated within the School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington under the leadership of Associate Professor Louise Dixon. Please explore IFAL’s website to learn more about us and what we do to prevent and intervene with aggressive behaviour.