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Abstract

Purpose This study aimed to investigate racial/ethnic disparities in emotional distress during witnessed police stops among a national sample of urban-born youth. Methods A national sample of urban-born youth in the U.S. from the most recent wave (2014–2017) of the Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study was used in the present study, with a particular focus on youth who report having witnessed police stops, despite not being directly stopped by the police (N = 1,488). Results Significant racial/ethnic disparities in feeling angry and unsafe during witnessed police stops emerged, with multiracial, black, and Hispanic youth exhibiting the highest rates of these forms of emotional distress. In the case of Black and multiracial youth, officer intrusiveness and perceptions of procedural injustice collectively explain a large portion of disparities in emotional distress during witnessed stops. Conclusions Youth of color are more likely to report emotional distress during witnessed police stops, largely due to the officer intrusiveness and perceived injustices that characterize these stops. Moving forward, scholars should consider whether racial/ethnic disparities in witnessing police violence and injustice may be a significant driver of mental health inequities among urban-born youth.

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... Ultimately, individuals can internalize such negative events and this can have meaningful implications for adolescent health. This is consistent with a mounting body of evidence indicating that youth encounters with police some of which involve acts of officer aggression or intrusiveness (Geller, 2021;Jackson, Del Toro, Semenza, Testa, & Vaughn, 2021) -can produce an array of deleterious health effects, including lower self-rated health (McFarland, Geller, & McFarland, 2019), higher social stigma (Jackson et al., 2019), higher post-traumatic stress (Jackson et al., 2019), worse sleep (Jackson, Testa, Vaughn, & Semenza, 2020), diminished positive future orientation Turney, Testa, & Jackson, 2022), reduced academic performance (Del Toro, Jackson, & Wang, 2022;Gottlieb & Wilson, 2019), and increased levels of depression (Turney, 2021). ...
... Critically, the occurrence and impact of youth-police contact are not randomly distributed across the adolescent U.S. population, but are instead heavily racialized, as data from 20 large U.S. cities has revealed (Geller, 2021;Jackson et al., 2021). For instance, by age 15, over 70% of urban Black youth have witnessed police stops, and 40% of urban Black boys have been directly stopped by police (Geller, 2021;Jackson et al., 2021). ...
... Critically, the occurrence and impact of youth-police contact are not randomly distributed across the adolescent U.S. population, but are instead heavily racialized, as data from 20 large U.S. cities has revealed (Geller, 2021;Jackson et al., 2021). For instance, by age 15, over 70% of urban Black youth have witnessed police stops, and 40% of urban Black boys have been directly stopped by police (Geller, 2021;Jackson et al., 2021). Evidence suggests that the impact of police contact on the health of Black youth extends across direct and vicarious encounters. ...
Article
Purpose Exposure to police brutality is a significant risk to adolescent mental health. This study extends this literature by exploring connections between anticipation of racially motivated police brutality and multiple facets of adolescent mental health. Methods Students ages 14 to 18 (n = 151) were recruited from a study administered in Baltimore City public schools. Between December 2020 and July 2021, participants completed a questionnaire assessing anticipatory stress regarding racially motivated police brutality and current mental health. Regression models examined associations between this anticipatory stress and mental health. Latent profile and regression analyses were used to examine whether anticipatory stress was more salient among adolescents with comorbid mental health symptoms, compared to those without comorbid symptoms. Results Youth with anticipatory stress stemming from both personal and vicarious police brutality had more symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD, as well as lower hope, compared to youth without anticipatory stress. The association between anticipatory stress and anxiety was stronger for girls than boys. Conclusions Findings from this study highlight racialized police brutality as a common anticipated stressor among youth, particularly for girls. Findings have implications for policing interventions, including development of additional trainings for police officers and promoting positive police/youth interactions.
... For instance, much of this study focuses on acts of violence, brutality, and police officer aggression (Geller, 2021;Jackson et al., 2019) to the exclusion of potential countervailing experiences that youth may deem as neutral or even positive. For instance, work by Geller (2021), Turney (2021), and Jackson et al. (2019Jackson et al. ( , 2020Jackson et al. ( , 2021c ...
... Despite these findings, however, there is little knowledge about how positive youth−police contact experiences might play out in a real-world context (on the street, in school) and the extent to which they can repair broken trust and fractured relationships engendered by (sometimes numerous) adverse experiences with police-whether direct or vicarious. This is particularly true in the case of Black youth in the United States, who often experience direct and vicarious youth−police contact as racialized adverse childhood experiences, given that such contact is frequently "affixed to a collective experience of marginalization" that produces a "uniquely potent historical, racialized, intergenerational form of trauma" (Jackson et al., 2021c;p. 1190). ...
... Considering the high frequency of youth−police encounters, training specific to safe and specialized policing practices with children and adolescents are particularly important yet receives too little attention in police academies (Fix et al., 2021;Thurau, 2017). Indeed, children and adolescents are more vulnerable to sequelae following police encounters characterized as aggressive, hostile, and/or experienced as unfair (e.g., Del Toro et al., 2019;Jackson et al., 2019;Jackson et al., 2021c;Turney, 2021). Study results suggest that youth can and do experience procedurally just encounters or encounters involving distributive justice as "positive," suggesting there are police practices and skills that can improve youth outcomes even during an arrest. ...
Article
Youth−police encounters reflect a pivotal point for intervention to improve police−community relations. Data from 454 youths (M = 15.1 years) included brief written descriptions of positive and negative experiences with a police officer and perceptions of police using Likert‐scale items. Participating youths described both positive (46%) and negative (60%) experiences with police. Besides decidedly positive experiences, youths also responded to the positive experiences prompt with ambiguous situations (46%) that involved the arrest of the youth or their family (procedural or distributive justice). Examples of ambiguous self‐described positive experiences included, “Restraining order,” “My dad went to prison,” and “When I was arrested in location redacted, the officer was kind and didn't put me in cuffs.” Results from regressions indicated youths’ perceptions of police were more often associated with the absence of positive experiences than specific positive or negative experiences. Study findings have implications for police trainings and future research on youth−police encounters.
... 1,2 Indeed, youth-police encounters are quite common, 3 and when one considers that such encounters are often defined by disparities in age, status, and power that disadvantage youths, they can be experienced as stressful and yield deleterious mental health repercussions. [4][5][6][7][8] Recent studies suggest that these outcomes may be most pronounced in the face of officer intrusiveness and procedural injustice, 5,9 and augmented among young people of color. 4,8,9 In light of the trauma associated with more-adverse youth-police encounters, the risk of selfharming behaviors and even attempted suicide may also increase, as these can be understood as maladaptive coping responses to emotional distress. ...
... [4][5][6][7][8] Recent studies suggest that these outcomes may be most pronounced in the face of officer intrusiveness and procedural injustice, 5,9 and augmented among young people of color. 4,8,9 In light of the trauma associated with more-adverse youth-police encounters, the risk of selfharming behaviors and even attempted suicide may also increase, as these can be understood as maladaptive coping responses to emotional distress. 10,11 Despite the known mental health repercussions of adverse youth-police contact, current knowledge is limited in key respects. ...
... 10,11 Despite the known mental health repercussions of adverse youth-police contact, current knowledge is limited in key respects. First, the bulk of this research focuses on the US criminal legal system, [4][5][6][7][8][9] which is distinct given its size, 12 particularly heavy reliance on proactive policing, 13 and long history of unfair treatment of people of color relative to other democratic countries. 14 Despite initial evidence that police-citizen encounters outside of the United States may worsen emotional well-being, 15 the particular health impacts of youth-police encounters in non-US contexts remain unexplored. ...
Article
Objectives. To explore associations between police stops, self-harm, and attempted suicide among a large, representative sample of adolescents in the United Kingdom. Methods. Data were drawn from the 3 most recent sweeps of the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), from 2012 to 2019. The MCS is an ongoing nationally representative contemporary birth cohort of children born in the United Kingdom between September 2000 and January 2002 (n = 10 345). Weights were used to account for sample design and multiple imputation for missing data. Results. Youths experiencing police stops by the age of 14 years (14.77%) reported significantly higher rates of self-harm (incidence rate ratio = 1.52; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.35, 1.69) at age 17 years and significantly higher odds of attempted suicide (odds ratio = 2.25; 95% CI = 1.84, 2.76) by age 17 years. These patterns were largely consistent across examined features of police stops and generally did not vary by sociodemographic factors. In addition, 17.73% to 40.18% of associations between police stops and outcomes were explained by mental distress. Conclusions. Police-initiated encounters are associated with youth self-harm and attempted suicide. Youths may benefit when school counselors or social workers provide mental health screenings and offer counseling care following these events. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print September 23, 2021: e1–e9. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306434 )
... Relative to other age groups, young people in particular are more likely to come in contact with the police [7], partly due to widespread proactive policing strategies [8] and expansion of police in schools [9]. In 2018, approximately 1.1 million adolescents aged 16-17 (14.2% of all those ages [16][17] had police contact within the previous year [7], and mounting evidence indicates that they can and do experience police violence and its deleterious health effects [10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]. ...
... Indeed, only one study to date has considered the health implications stemming from witnessed police stops among youth. Using data from a sample of urban-born youth, Jackson and colleagues [13] demonstrated that youth of color were more likely than White youth to report emotional distress (i.e., feeling angry and unsafe) during witnessed police stops, and these feelings of distress largely stem from police officer intrusiveness characterizing these stops and perceptions of procedural injustice. ...
... In line with recent research [13,14], we also examined the emotional distress reported by youth during the witnessed stop. Youth who reported witnessing stops were asked follow-up questions concerning their feelings of distress during the reference stop, which in this case is either (1) a single witnessed stop for youth who have experienced this only once and have not been personally stopped or (2) the most salient witnessed stop (i.e., the one that stands out most in their minds) for youth who have witnessed multiple stops but have not been personally stopped. ...
Article
The purpose of the present study is to investigate mental well-being among youth after witnessing police stops. A national, urban-born sample of youth in the USA from the most recent wave (2014-2017) of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) was employed, with a focus on youth who had not been directly stopped by police (N = 2506). We used t-tests and multivariable ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to estimate direct associations, product-term analysis to test for effect modification by gender and race/ethnicity, and the Karlson-Holm-Breen (KHB) method to assess for mediation by experiences of emotional distress during a stop. Findings indicate that youth who have witnessed police stops report significantly higher levels of depression (t = 5.93, p < 0.01) and anxiety (t = 6.57, p < 0.01) and lower levels of happiness (t = - 4.02, p < 0.01) following the stop than those who have not. Among youth witnessing stops (N = 1488), more intrusive witnessed encounters correspond to diminished mental well-being across indicators, in part due to elevated emotional distress during witnessed stops. Findings hold regardless of gender, yet vary somewhat by race and ethnicity, with youth of color reporting less anxiety than their White counterparts after witnessing an intrusive stop, but reporting greater reductions in happiness. Collectively, our findings suggest that witnessing police stops may contribute to inequities in youth mental well-being. A public health approach that combines prevention and treatment strategies may mitigate the harms of police exposure and reduce disparities in youth well-being.
... • Non-White adolescents reported feeling more angry and less safe when witnessing police stops than White adolescents (Jackson et al. 2021). ...
... Second, developmentalists can study exposures that occur disproportionately among minority families. Compared with otherwise similar White children in this cohort, Black and Hispanic children are more likely to experience poverty and material hardships, including eviction (Lundberg & Donnelly 2019); violence in the family (Charles & Perreira 2007, Golden et al. 2013) and community (James et al. 2021); and criminal justice system involvement, including parental incarceration (Perry & Bright 2012, Wildeman 2009) and adolescent police stops (Jackson et al. 2021), among other disparities. ...
Article
We describe the promise of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) for developmental researchers. FFCWS is a birth cohort study of 4,898 children born in 1998–2000 in large US cities. This prospective national study collected data on children and parents at birth and during infancy (age 1), toddlerhood (age 3), early childhood (age 5), middle childhood (age 9), adolescence (age 15), and, in progress, young adulthood (age 22). Though FFCWS was created to understand the lives of unmarried parent families, its comprehensive data on parents, children, and contexts can be used to explore many other developmental questions. We identify six opportunities for developmentalists: ( a) analyzing developmental trajectories, ( b) identifying the importance of the timing of exposures for later development, ( c) documenting bidirectional influences on development, ( d) understanding development in context, ( e) identifying biological moderators and mechanisms, and ( f) using an urban-born cohort that is large, diverse, and prospective.
... For instance, Geller (2021) recently found that, in the United States, two of every five Black boys living in an urban area have experienced direct police stops by age 15, and two-third of these stops involved officer aggression/intrusiveness. Absent the proper support and coping resources, intrusive and unjust police encounters can undermine multiple facets of youth well-being (Del Toro et al., 2019;Jackson et al., 2019;Jackson, Testa, Vaughn, & Semenza, 2020;McFarland, Geller, & McFarland, 2019;Turney, 2020) and may even contribute to racial/ethnic disparities in adolescent health (Jackson, Del Toro, Semenza, Testa, & Vaughn, 2021). ...
... Many of these fatal incidents occurred during the time that the present data (FFCWS) were collected and have continued to push policecommunity relations to the forefront of national attention. Coupled with the clear evidence of racial stratification in youth-police contact (particularly in exposure to aggressive policing, see Geller, 2021), a growing body of research demonstrates that youth-police interactions can often produce lasting, negative psychological repercussions (Del Toro et al., 2019;Jackson et al., 2019;Jackson, Testa, Vaughn, & Semenza, 2020;McFarland et al., 2019;Turney, 2020), which can be particularly profound for youth of color (Ba cak & Nowotny, 2020;Jackson et al., 2021). Thus, youth disclosure of these experiences to trusted persons who can provide social support may be a critical first step to mitigating potentially devastating health ramifications. ...
Article
Youth–police encounters are common in the United States, with potentially serious mental health ramifications requiring social supports to cope. Still, no research has examined youth disclosure of these experiences to others. Using a national sample of youth stopped by police (N = 918; 56.09% Black, 20.48% Hispanic), we find that more than two‐thirds disclosed police encounters—most commonly to mothers. Even so, disclosure became less likely as perceptions of procedural injustice, social stigma, and legal cynicism increased. Among youth who disclosed stops but not to parents, disclosure to friends was common (61.18%), whereas disclosure to nonparent adults was not. Enhanced training for teachers, school counselors, and community leaders may improve youth outcomes by facilitating additional opportunities for disclosure and support.
... A growing body of literature demonstrates that policeinitiated contact is associated with worsened psychological well-being and physical health (Geller et al., 2014;Sewell et al., 2016) and more subsequently delinquency (Del Toro et al., 2019). Indeed, it is becoming known that exposure to intrusive and procedurally unjust policing should be considered traumatic events that can result in maladaptive coping strategies Jackson, Del Toro, et al., 2021). Recent evidence indicates that when Black male youth are vicariously exposed to a recent police-related death in their county, their average nightly cortisol spikes by almost 50% (Browning et al., 2021), demonstrating the real impacts vicarious police-related trauma may have on youth physiological stress and mental health. ...
... On a theoretical level, this study provides important empirical support for integrating the general strain theory and the procedural justice framework and applying them to youth and policing. On a practical level, in line with the growing body of work on the effects of policing on youth health and mental health (e.g., Del Jackson, Del Toro, et al., 2021), this study suggests that mental health practitioners should screen youth for their fear of police because it could indicate a traumatic, generalized strain that can result in poor mental health and maladaptive coping strategies. ...
Article
Full-text available
The procedural justice framework suggests that negative perceptions of the police are linked to crime-related behavior. General strain theory could illuminate a key mechanism; negative perceptions of the police might undermine the obligation to obey laws and rules through promoting strain and psychological distress. This study integrated these two theoretical perspectives to examine whether youths’ fear of the police might undermine their felt obligation to obey authority institutions, including the law and school, through promoting psychological distress. Children (N=342) ages 10-12 were sampled in November of 2020. Consistent with theoretical expectations, children’s fear of the police was indirectly associated with their felt obligation to obey both the law and school rules through undermining their mental health. These findings have implications for policy, practice, and research; youths’ fear of the police may undermine their mental health and may have downstream consequences on their felt obligation to obey not only the law, but also school rules.
... 8 In addition, studies show that living in neighborhoods with more frequent policing (or what is sometimes called "hyperpolicing" or "proactive policing")-which involves greater stops, searches, and surveillance by police in some communities to detect criminal activity or disrupt circumstances that may lead to criminal activity, and often includes techniques such as "stop-and-frisk" 9-12 -may have negative effects on health outcomes such as selfrated health, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, high blood pressure or hypertension, asthma, and obesity. 7,[13][14][15][16][17][18][19] Among youth, specifically, these police encounters have been linked to experiences of stress, trauma, and anxiety, 14,20 including posttraumatic stress symptomatology. 21 These health outcomes, which do not rely on personal encounters, suggest that people living in frequently policed neighborhoods need not experience contact with the police to be affected by the stress of the events. ...
... Even the indirect experiences of violence in one's community can effect physiologic responses in ways that may increase the risk for cardiovascular conditions and other health outcomes, 22,23 and for youth, witnessing police stops may be a significant source of emotional distress. 20 Despite mounting evidence demonstrating the negative effects of frequent policing, 2,24 there remains a need to quantify associations between police encounters and health and well-being, including community violence.We acknowledge, however, that the link between frequent policing and violence is cyclical and compounding, affecting not only additional potential acts of interpersonal or community violence 8,25,26 but also physiologic responses that may affect health. 27 Adopting the conceptual model of Maayan Simckes and colleagues, 27 we examined the association between frequent policing and both individual (for example, health and behavior) and community-level outcomes, examined at the community level. ...
Article
Full-text available
The disproportionate rates of police surveillance and encounters in many communities in the US may be contributing to inequities in health and violence. Frequent policing in communities, which may often also be aggressive policing, has been associated with diminished health and well-being. This study adds to the growing body of research on this issue by examining the relationships between neighborhood police stop-and-frisk encounters and both health outcomes and violence rates in New Orleans, Louisiana, in an ecological, cross-sectional study using local police report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and census data. The average rate of police stop-and-frisk encounters was more than three times higher for Black adults compared with their White counterparts. Even after we accounted for concentrated disadvantage (a high percentage of residents of lower socioeconomic status) and residential racial and income segregation, neighborhoods with higher rates of encounters had significantly higher prevalence rates of smoking, physical inactivity, and poor physical health, and they experienced significantly more violent crime (18.35 more per 1,000) and domestic violence (49.91 more per 1,000) events than neighborhoods with lower levels of police encounters. There is a need for strengthened policy focused on the relationship between frequent policing and health and violence outcomes.
... Following the police killings of young Black people, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the release of videos of police violence against community members and protestors (Buchanan et al., 2020), demands to either defund or abolish the police reverberated throughout the United States in 2020 (Buchanan et al., 2020;Joseph-Salisbury, Connelly, & Wangari-Jones, 2020). Of particular concern is police treatment of adolescents of color, who experience disproportionate amounts of unfair and unwarranted police contact (Pollard, 2017; Stephens & Morash, 2015; Zeiders et al., 2021) and distress following exposure to police stops (Jackson, Del Toro, et al., 2021;Del Toro et al., 2019. It is unsurprising, then, that because adolescents of color have more negative direct and vicarious encounters with law enforcement than their White peers (Cobbina, 2019;Shedd, 2015), many non-White parents engage in socialization practices that prepare their adolescents for potential bias from law enforcement. ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Definitions regarding defunding or abolishing the police are highly contested in the United States. Moreover, adolescents' definitions and how socialization processes shape their definitions are unclear. Methods: Within a national sample of 822 adolescents ages 13-17 (49.69% female; 63.22% White, 16.93% Black/African American, 11.01% Hispanic/Latinx) surveyed in July 2020, this study examined how youth define defunding versus abolishing the police, how much parents talk to youth about the police (i.e., "the Talk"), and whether relations emerged between defunding/abolishing the police and "the Talk." Results: Youth supported defunding more than abolishing (d = 0.57). Support for abolishing was higher for youth who frequently received "the Talk" (b = 0.25). Differences by race and gender were uncovered in how frequently youth received "the Talk." Conclusions: Police must recognize that coercion, fear, and biased policing breed discontent and promote families to engage in protective parenting strategies including engaging in "the Talk."
... Police stops may compromise the health and wellbeing of adolescents (Jackson, Del Toro, Semenza, Testa, & Vaughn, 2021), with an increased likelihood that Black boys will have been stopped by the police. We emphasize that police stops could have serious implications for youth's development and urge that policies be revisited to minimize unnecessary police intervention in adolescents' lives. ...
Article
This brief report examines whether the effects of direct and vicarious police stops on adolescents’ academic adjustment via their psychological and physical well‐being differ across ethnic–racial and gender groups. Using national and longitudinal survey data from Black, Latinx, and White adolescents (N = 3004; 49% girls), we found that the police stopped more Black boys and Black girls than their ethnic–racial peers. Vicarious stops were prevalent among all groups. The effects of police stops on adolescents’ adjustment outcomes were more detrimental for adolescents of color and particularly Black boys relative to their White peers. Implications are discussed regarding how law enforcement shapes disparities that disadvantage particular adolescents at the intersections of their ethnicity–race and gender.
... Structural racism specifically affects Black youth's mental health in several ways, evident in the overrepresentation of Black youth in the juvenile legal and child welfare systems, and the rippling impacts of intergenerational and societal traumas upon Black individuals, families, and communities (Robles-Ramamurthy et al., 2021). Black youth who simply witness police stops experience significant emotional distress due to acts of police officer intrusiveness and procedurally unjust treatment of citizens; this suggests that many Black youth exhibit a trauma response when police are present regardless of their individual involvement in the situation, and the mere sight of police can be detrimental to the mental and physical health of Black youth (Jackson et al., 2021). ...
Article
Mental health professionals routinely advise the public to call 911 in case of an acute mental health crisis to access emergent care and ensure safety. Although there is no national database collection process, available data shows that individuals experiencing an acute mental health crisis and Black youth are both at a significantly elevated risk of being harmed or killed by law enforcement during any encounter. This brief analytic essay explores whether advising the public to call 911 is truly the best practice recommendation for Black youth in a mental health crisis. An alternative to the traditional law enforcement response is a mobile unarmed crisis response program. The authors describe successful existing programs and advocate for more widespread adoption of such teams, which likely would provide safer, cost-effective, evidence-based alternatives during acute mental health crises.
... Finally, considering the racial and ethnic composition of the sample (i.e., w80% white), and the infrequency of some of the substance use measures examined (e.g., illicit substances), we were unable to garner reliable estimates of associations between police stops and substance use stratified by each racial/ ethnic group (particularly black and mixed race). Still, given recent findings suggesting racial and ethnic disparities in the health impacts of policing for youth in the U.S. [32], future studies with alternative data sources should explore such patterns in the UK and elsewhere. ...
Article
Purpose The aim of this study is to investigate associations between police stops and adolescent substance use among a large, representative sample of adolescents in the United Kingdom (UK). Methods Data from the three most recent sweeps of the UK Millennium Cohort Study, a nationally representative contemporary birth cohort of children born in the UK between September 2000 and January 2002, were analyzed in 2021 (N = 10,345). Lifetime police stops are assessed at age 14 (Sweep 6, 2015) and a diverse set of adolescent substance use behaviors are assessed at age 17 (Sweep 7, 2018). Weights are used to account for sample design and multiple imputation for missing data. Results Youth experiencing police stops by the age of 14 (14.72%) reported significantly higher engagement in substance use behaviors at age 17, including frequent binge drinking (adjusted relative risk ratio [ARRR] = 3.56, confidence interval [CI] = 2.80–4.03), cigarette use (ARRR = 3.97, CI = 3.26–4.84), e-cigarette use (ARRR = 2.22, CI = 1.69–2.93), cannabis use (ARRR = 3.63, CI = 2.88–4.57), and illicit drug use (adjusted incidence rate ratio = 3.06, CI = 2.45–3.81). Ancillary analyses revealed that findings linking police stops to substance use emerge across distinct stop features (e.g., questioned vs. warned), following adjustment for substance use at age 14, and when examining substance use initiation after the age of 14. Conclusions Police officers should be trained to effectively communicate and interact with youth to mitigate adverse sequelae of stops. Youth may also benefit from mental health and substance use screenings as well as counseling care following these events.
... Law enforcement is a pervasive presence in adolescents' ethnic-racial minority communities Jackson et al., 2021). For youth of color, exposure to police encounters emerges as early as the onset of adolescence (Weaver & Geller, 2019). ...
Article
Negative interactions with the legal system can inform adolescents' relationships with schools. The present daily-diary study examined 13,545 daily survey assessments from 387 adolescents (Mage = 13-14; 40% male; 32% Black, 50% White, and 18% Other ethnic-racial minority) across 35 days to assess whether police stops predicted adolescents' school disengagement through their psychological distress as a mediator. Results showed that 9% of youth experienced at least one police stop, and 66 stops occurred in total over the 35-day study course. Youth stopped by the police reported greater next-day school disengagement, and youth's psychological distress mediated the link between police stops and school disengagement. Disengagement did not predict youth's next-day police stops. In addition, ethnic-racial minority youth reported more negative police encounters than did White youth, and the effect of a police stop on next-day psychological distress was more negative for Other ethnic-racial minority youth. Implications for reducing police intervention in adolescents' lives are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Comparatively, White individuals, who are generally less likely to be exposed to unfair police treatment, may be most susceptible to unfair police treatment in the context of accumulating ACEs. In such a scenario, ACEs may differentially distinguish the risk of perceived unfair police treatment among White individuals and persons of color, with Black individuals, in particular, bearing the brunt of perceived unfair police treatment across all levels of adversity and White individuals only beginning to approach that risk in the presence of a high number of adversities [24]. ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of the study was to examine racial/ethnic heterogeneity in the relationship between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and perceived unfair police treatment in the United States. Methods Data are from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (n = 8,876). Logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship between accumulating ACEs and perceived unfair police treatment. Moderation analyses were conducted to assess interactions between ACEs, race, and ethnicity. Results Those with four or more ACEs were 3.4 times as likely to report perceived unfair police treatment by adulthood, relative to individuals with zero ACEs (odds ratio = 3.411, 95% confidence interval = 2.634, 4.418). Still, Black individuals have the highest probability of experiencing unfair police contact, and this pattern remains relatively stable irrespective of the number of ACEs. The probability of perceived unfair police treatment significantly increases alongside accumulating ACEs for all other racial and ethnic groups. Discussion Exposure to accumulating ACEs substantially elevates the likelihood of perceived unfair police treatment. However, perceived unfair police treatment is so common in the lives of Black Americans; it occurs at considerably high rates irrespective of ACE exposure.
... Police contact is not randomly distributed across the population and, instead, is concentrated among vulnerable segments of the population. For example, adolescents of color are more likely to experience personal and vicarious police contact than their White counterparts (Geller, 2021;Jackson et al., 2021b), and these adolescents may report lower future orientation resulting from their experiences of racism and discrimination (Herrera, 2009;Nyborg & Curry, 2003). Similarly, police contact is concentrated among those living in disadvantaged and highly surveilled neighborhoods (Rengifo & Fowler, 2016), those who engage in delinquent behavior (Dennison & Finkeldey, 2021), and those whose parents have had contact with the criminal justice system (Geller, 2018). ...
Article
In response to the changing nature of policing in the United States, and current climate of police–citizen relations, research has begun to explore the consequences of adolescent police contact for life outcomes. The current study investigates if and under what conditions police contact has repercussions for future orientation during adolescence and the transition into young adulthood. Using data from the Pathways to Desistance study, a multisite longitudinal study of serious offenders followed from adolescence to young adulthood, results from a series of fixed‐effects models demonstrated three main findings. First, personal and vicarious police contact, compared with no additional police contact, are negatively associated with within‐person changes in future orientation. Second, any exposure to police contact, regardless of how just or unjust the contact is perceived, is negatively associated with future orientation. Third, the negative association between police contact and future orientation is larger for White individuals compared with that for Black or Hispanic individuals. Considering the importance of future orientation for prosocial behavior, the findings suggest that adolescent police contact may serve as an important life‐course event with repercussions for later life outcomes.
Article
The burden of firearm homicide in the United States is not evenly distributed across the population; rather, it disproportionately affects youth in disadvantaged and marginalized communities. Research is limited relevant to the impacts of exposure to firearm violence that occurs near where youth live or attend school – spatially proximate firearm violence – on youths' mental health and whether those impacts vary by characteristics that shape youths' risk for experiencing that exposure in the first place. Using a dataset linking the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study with the Gun Violence Archive (N = 3086), we employed propensity score matching and multilevel stratification to examine average and heterogeneous associations between spatially proximate firearm homicide exposure and anxiety and depression among all youth and then separately for boys and girls. We found a statistically significant average association between firearm homicide exposure and symptoms of depression among youth. Furthermore, heterogeneous effects analyses yielded evidence that the average association is driven by youth, and particularly boys, who are the most disadvantaged and have the highest risk of firearm homicide exposure. The results of this study suggest that the accumulation of stressors associated with structural disadvantage and neighborhood disorder, coupled with exposure to spatially proximate and deadly firearm violence, may make boys and young men, particularly Black boys and young men, uniquely vulnerable to the mental health impacts of such exposure. Ancillary analyses of potential effect moderators suggest possible future areas of investigation.
Article
Despite their enormous potential impact on population health and health inequities, police violence and use of excessive force have only recently been addressed from a public health perspective. Moving to change this state of affairs, this article considers police violence in the USA within a social determinants and health disparities framework, highlighting recent literature linking this exposure to mental health symptoms, physical health conditions, and premature mortality. The review demonstrates that police violence is common in the USA; is disproportionately directed toward Black, Latinx, and other marginalized communities; and exerts a significant and adverse effect on a broad range of health outcomes. The state-sponsored nature of police violence, its embedding within a historical and contemporary context of structural racism, and the unique circumstances of the exposure itself make it an especially salient and impactful form of violence exposure, both overlapping with and distinct from other forms of violence. We conclude by noting potential solutions that clinicaly psychology and allied fields may offer to alleviate the impact of police violence, while simultaneously recognizing that a true solution to this issue requires a drastic reformation or replacement of the criminal justice system, as well as addressing the broader context of structural and systemic racism in the USA. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, Volume 18 is May 2022. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Article
Aims: This investigation explores police encounters and police-related coping responses, and the extent to which these relations are impacted by race/ethnicity and beliefs about state authority. Methods: In two large, diverse samples of undergraduates reporting on their recent experiences in the community, race, experiences with police, and views of police were analyzed as predictors for coping with police presence; attitudes about authority were added in the latter study to explore how views of authority affect interpretation of police encounters and later coping. Results: Negative experiences with police differed by race and consistently predicted coping with police presence. There was a marginal interaction between views of authority and negative experiences with police, with greater stress response at lower levels of authoritarian attitudes. Conclusions: This report clarifies interactions with police from the civilian perspective. It suggests individual attitudes meaningfully affect interpretation of police encounters and, in line with recent research recommendations, highlights the need to better understand police encounters as stressors, particularly in relation to race and ethnicity.
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Background It is unknown whether increasing attention to police brutality is a source of stress associated with substance use risk among young people. Methods A longitudinal racially/ethnically diverse cohort from Los Angeles, California (n=1,797) completed baseline (2017; mean age: 17.9) and follow-up (2020; mean age: 21.2) surveys assessing level of concern, worry, and stress about police brutality (range: 0 ‘not at all’ – 4 ‘extremely’) and past 30-day nicotine, cannabis, alcohol, other drug, and number of substances used (0-19). Regression models, adjusted for demographic characteristics and baseline substance use, evaluated whether changes in distress about police brutality from 2017-2020 were associated with substance use in 2020 overall and stratified by race/ethnicity. Results Distress about police brutality increased between 2017 (mean: 1.59) and 2020 (mean: 2.43) overall. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino respondents consistently had the highest mean distress levels at both timepoints. In the full sample, each one-unit greater increase in distress about police brutality from 2017-2020 was associated with 11% higher odds of cannabis use, 13% higher odds of alcohol use, and 8% higher risk of using an additional substance for the number of substances used outcome. Race/ethnicity-stratified models indicated that greater increases in distress from 2017-2020 was associated with substance use among Black/African American, Hispanic, and multiracial respondents in 2020, but not Asian American/Pacific Islander and White respondents. Conclusions Distress about police brutality may be associated with substance use, particularly among certain racial/ethnic minority young people. Further investigation of whether police brutality affects health in disparity populations is needed.
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Introduction Gun violence plagues many communities that simultaneous experience other threats to their health and safety. Policing strategies to address illegal gun carrying may exacerbate or even contribute to gun violence. Methods We conducted a mixed-methods study to understand community perspectives on gun violence, safety, and the Baltimore Police Department (BPD)’s approaches to gun violence reduction. Using an explanatory-exploratory approach – we conducted household surveys (n = 200) and then explored key survey findings with focus groups. Descriptive statistics were generated from the surveys and key themes were identified from the focus groups. Results One-quarter of survey respondents reported having been a victim of a gun crime, one-third reported not feeling safe in their neighborhood, and slightly less than one-half thought police would respond quickly if shots were fired. Many participants expressed distrust in police as a result of their strategies to reduce gun carrying and address violence. Discussion Residents in Baltimore's neighborhoods besieged by gun violence perceive the police to be ineffective in their gun violence prevention efforts. Several strategies were identified that could improve trust and reduce violence, including improving officer accountability and training, and developing tools for officers to address their own mental health and trauma.
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Objectives To understand the impact of measurement and analytic choices on assessments of police use of force (UOF) and racial disparities therein.Methods We collected and standardized UOF data (N = 9982 incidents) from a diverse set of 11 police departments, and measured departments’ aggregate force severity in five ways. We assessed the sensitivity of racial disparities in UOF severity to a series of analytic choices, using a 5 × 2 × 2 × 2 design comparing force severity to population and arrest benchmarks, using two definitions of minority group (Black/Nonwhite), and two modes of comparison (ratios/differences).ResultsSignificant racial disparities were observed under most analytic choices in most departments. However, lethal force was rare, and estimates of lethal force disparities were statistically uncertain, as were departments’ relative ranks as equitable or disparate. Ratios of minority to White force severity were less sensitive to measurement differences within measures including nonlethal force. The choice of a population or arrest benchmark had implications for which departments emerged as highly disparate, while focal minority group and mode of comparison had less systematic effects.Conclusions Given increased scrutiny of police activity by advocates and policymakers, it is important to understand how measurement and other analytic choices affect our understanding of equity in police practices. Our findings demonstrate that analytical decisions interact in complex ways and that standardization is essential when comparing multiple departments. We recommend comprehensive data collection that includes nonlethal as well as lethal force, and make recommendations for measuring and contextualizing racial disparities in UOF and other police activity.
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Police violence has increasingly been recognized as a public health concern in the United States, and accumulating evidence has shown police violence exposure to be linked to a broad range of health and mental health outcomes. These associations appear to extend beyond the typical associations between violence and mental health, and to be independent of the effects of co-occurring forms of trauma and violence exposure. However, there is no existing theoretical framework within which we may understand the unique contributions of police violence to mental health and illness. This article aims to identify potential factors that may distinguish police violence from other forms of violence and trauma exposure, and to explore the possibility that this unique combination of factors distinguishes police violence from related risk exposures. We identify 8 factors that may alter this relationship, including those that increase the likelihood of overall exposure, increase the psychological impact of police violence, and impede the possibility of coping or recovery from such exposures. On the basis of these factors, we propose a theoretical framework for the further study of police violence from a public mental health perspective.
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Existing research shows that distrust of the police is widespread and consequential for public safety. However, there is a shortage of interventions that demonstrably reduce negative police interactions with the communities they serve. A training program in Chicago attempted to encourage 8,480 officers to adopt procedural justice policing strategies. These strategies emphasize respect, neutrality, and transparency in the exercise of authority, while providing opportunities for civilians to explain their side of events. We find that training reduced complaints against the police by 10.0% and reduced the use of force against civilians by 6.4% over 2 y. These findings affirm the feasibility of changing the command and control style of policing which has been associated with popular distrust and the use of force, through a broad training program built around the concept of procedurally just policing.
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Proactive policing, the strategic targeting of people or places to prevent crimes, is a well-studied tactic that is ubiquitous in modern law enforcement. A 2017 National Academies of Sciences report reviewed existing literature, entrenched in deterrence theory, and found evidence that proactive policing strategies can reduce crime. The existing literature, however, does not explore what the short and long-term effects of police contact are for young people who are subjected to high rates of contact with law enforcement as a result of proactive policing. Using four waves of longitudinal survey data from a sample of predominantly black and Latino boys in ninth and tenth grades, we find that adolescent boys who are stopped by police report more frequent engagement in delinquent behavior 6, 12, and 18 months later, independent of prior delinquency, a finding that is consistent with labeling and life course theories. We also find that psychological distress partially mediates this relationship, consistent with the often stated, but rarely measured, mechanism for adolescent criminality hypothesized by general strain theory. These findings advance the scientific understanding of crime and adolescent development while also raising policy questions about the efficacy of routine police stops of black and Latino youth. Police stops predict decrements in adolescents’ psychological well-being and may unintentionally increase their engagement in criminal behavior.
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Aims Little is known about the potential health impact of police encounters despite a ubiquitous police presence in many disadvantaged urban environments. In this paper, we assess whether persistent or aggressive interactions with the police are associated with poor mental health outcomes in a sample of primarily low-income communities of colour in Chicago. Methods Between March 2015 and September 2016, we surveyed 1543 adults in ten diverse Chicago communities using a multistage probability design. The survey had over 350 questions on health and social factors, including police exposure and mental health status. We use sex-stratified logistic regression to examine associations between persistent police exposure (defined as a high number of lifetime police stops) or aggressive police exposure (defined as threat or use of police force during the respondent's most recent police stop) and the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depressive symptoms. Results Men reporting a high number of lifetime police stops have three times greater odds of current PTSD symptoms compared with men who did not report high lifetime police stops (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.3–7.6), after adjusting for respondent age, race/ethnicity, education, history of homelessness, prior diagnosis of PTSD and neighbourhood violent crime rate. Women reporting a high number of lifetime police stops have two times greater odds of current PTSD symptoms, although the results are not statistically significant after adjustment (OR 2.0, 95% CI 0.9–4.2). Neither persistent nor aggressive police exposure is significantly associated with current depressive symptoms in our sample. Conclusions Our findings support existing preliminary evidence of an association between high lifetime police stops and PTSD symptoms. If future research can confirm as causal, these results have considerable public health implications given the frequent interaction between police and residents in disadvantaged communities in large urban areas.
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We investigated links between police brutality and poor health outcomes among Blacks and identified five intersecting pathways: (1) fatal injuries that increase population-specific mortality rates; (2) adverse physiological responses that increase morbidity; (3) racist public reactions that cause stress; (4) arrests, incarcerations, and legal, medical, and funeral bills that cause financial strain; and (5) integrated oppressive structures that cause systematic disempowerment. Public health scholars should champion efforts to implement surveillance of police brutality and press funders to support research to understand the experiences of people faced with police brutality. We must ask whether our own research, teaching, and service are intentionally antiracist and challenge the institutions we work in to ask the same. To reduce racial health inequities, public health scholars must rigorously explore the relationship between police brutality and health, and advocate policies that address racist oppression. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print March 21, 2017: e1-e4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.303691).
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Legal socialization is the process whereby people develop their relationship with the law via the acquisition of law-related values, attitudes, and reasoning capacities. Research on legal socialization distinguishes between two different orientations toward the law: coercive and consensual. Coercive orientations are rooted in the use of force and punishment, ultimately leading to an instrumentally focused relationship built on dominance. Consensual orientations are rooted in the acquisition of values encompassing concerns over treatment, decision making, and boundaries. When authorities embody these values, they promote trust and legitimacy and foster a relationship built on shared values and the voluntary acceptance of legal authority. Despite these findings, the appropriateness of a consensual over a coercive approach is heavily contested across legal and nonlegal contexts. However, research consistently demonstrates that socializing supportive values and encouraging favorable attitudes not only motivates compliance with the law but promotes voluntary deference and willing cooperation with legal authorities.
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Objectives: We surveyed young men on their experiences of police encounters and subsequent mental health. Methods: Between September 2012 and March 2013, we conducted a population-based telephone survey of 1261 young men aged 18 to 26 years in New York City. Respondents reported how many times they were approached by New York Police Department officers, what these encounters entailed, any trauma they attributed to the stops, and their overall anxiety. We analyzed data using cross-sectional regressions. Results: Participants who reported more police contact also reported more trauma and anxiety symptoms, associations tied to how many stops they reported, the intrusiveness of the encounters, and their perceptions of police fairness. Conclusions: The intensity of respondent experiences and their associated health risks raise serious concerns, suggesting a need to reevaluate officer interactions with the public. Less invasive tactics are needed for suspects who may display mental health symptoms and to reduce any psychological harms to individuals stopped.
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Objective: Current research has suggested that characteristics of the victim (e.g., sex, race, age) and situational factors (e.g., injury, relationship to the offender) influence police reporting. Questions remain as to what other variables influence police reporting as well as the particular motivational mechanisms that move victims, and others, to report victimization incidents. This study introduces negative emotionality to investigate the direct and mediation effects of emotions on police reporting. Method: Using data from the British Crime Survey, regression models were used to explore the path from individual and incident characteristics to police reporting. Negative emotionality was introduced into the regression models as a key mediator in this pathway. Results: Negative emotionality significantly increased the chance of police reporting. Negative emotionality also mediated some of the influence of individual and incident characteristics on police reporting. Conclusion: The results suggest that emotions are important in determining why some incidents come to the attention of the police. They also reveal that victims who come to the attention of the police are often dealing with a multitude of intense negative emotions. This suggests that programs that focus on victims’ emotions, such as restorative justice, may be more successful in meeting the needs of victims than traditional approaches. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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Research consistently shows that minorities have less confidence in the police and perceive less procedural justice during encounters than Whites. This work generally concludes that the differences in perceptions by race are due to actual differences in attitudes, then proceeds to explore the origins of these differences. However, scholarly work has not yet explored the possibility that this finding is related to how members of different racial groups answer and interpret questions about the police; in other words, how measurement properties of scales may contribute to these differences. Using data from the National Police Research Platform’s Police–Community Interaction Survey, we conduct analyses to assess the reliability and validity of two measures of attitudes toward the police and assess differential item functioning (DIF) by race using Rasch analysis. Our findings reveal that few items from the procedural justice scale indicated DIF. All other items comprising the confidence in the police and procedural justice scales exhibited no differential functioning by race, indicating that the historic finding of variation in attitudes toward police by race are likely due to real differences rather than measurement error.
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Logit and probit models are widely used in empirical sociological research. However, the widespread practice of comparing the coefficients of a given variable across differently specified models does not warrant the same interpretation in logits and probits as in linear regression. Unlike in linear models, the change in the coefficient of the variable of interest cannot be straightforwardly attributed to the inclusion of confounding variables. The reason for this is that the variance of the underlying latent variable is not identified and will differ between models. We refer to this as the problem of rescaling. We propose a solution that allows researchers to assess the influence of confounding relative to the influence of rescaling, and we develop a test statistic that allows researchers to assess the statistical significance of both confounding and rescaling. We also show why y-standardized coefficients and average partial effects are not suitable for comparing coefficients across models. We present examples of the application of our method using simulated data and data from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey.
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Much of the research on police-citizen relations has focused on adults, not youth. Given that adolescents and particularly young males are more likely than adults to have involuntary and adversarial contacts with police officers, it is especially important to investigate their experiences with and perceptions of the police. This article examines the accounts of young Black and White males who reside in one of three disadvantaged St. Louis, Missouri, neighborhoods — one predominantly Black, one predominantly White, and the other racially mixed. In-depth interviews were conducted with the youths, and the authors’ analysis centers on the ways in which both race and neighborhood context influence young males’ orientations toward the police.
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Recent studies by police departments and researchers confirm that police stop persons of racial and ethnic minority groups more often than whites relative to their proportions in the population. However, it has been argued that stop rates more accurately reflect rates of crimes committed by each ethnic group, or that stop rates reflect elevated rates in specific social areas, such as neighborhoods or precincts. Most of the research on stop rates and police-citizen interactions has focused on traffic stops, and analyses of pedestrian stops are rare. In this article we analyze data from 125,000 pedestrian stops by the New York Police Department over a 15-month period. We disaggregate stops by police precinct and compare stop rates by racial and ethnic group, controlling for previous race-specific arrest rates. We use hierarchical multilevel models to adjust for precinct-level variability, thus directly addressing the question of geographic heterogeneity that arises in the analysis of pedestrian stops. We find that persons of African and Hispanic descent were stopped more frequently than whites, even after controlling for precinct variability and race-specific estimates of crime participation.
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There is growing interest in crime prevention through early youth interventions; yet, the standard United States response to the crime problem, particularly among juveniles, has been to increase the use and resource allocation allotted toward punishment and incapacitation and away from prevention and treatment. At the same time, longitudinal studies of delinquency and crime have repeatedly documented a strong link between past and future behavior and have identified a small subset of offenders who commit a large share of criminal offenses. These findings suggest that if these offenders can be identified early and correctly and provided with prevention and treatment resources early in the life course, their criminal activity may be curtailed. While researchers have studied these offenders in great detail, little attention has been paid to the costs they exert on society. This paper provides estimates of the cost of crime imposed on society by high risk youth. Our approach follows and builds upon the early framework and basic methodology developed by Cohen (J Quant Criminol 14: 5–33, 1998), by using new estimates of the costs of individual crimes, ones that are more comprehensive and that significantly increased the monetary cost per crime. We also use new estimates on the underlying offending rate for high risk juvenile offenders. We estimate the present value of saving a 14-year-old high risk juvenile from a life of crime to range from 2.6 to2.6 to 5.3million. Similarly, saving a high risk youth at birth would save society between 2.6 and2.6 and 4.4million.
Article
Background Emerging evidence indicates that exposure to police-related deaths is associated with negative health and wellbeing outcomes among blacks. Yet, no study to date has directly examined the biological consequences of exposure to police-related deaths for urban black youth. Methods and Findings We employ unique data from the 2014-16 Adolescent Health and Development in Context (AHDC) study – a representative sample of youth ages 11 to 17 residing in the Columbus, OH area. A subsample of participants contributed nightly saliva samples for cortisol for up to six days, providing an opportunity to link recent exposures to police-related deaths within the residential county to physiological stress outcomes during the study period (N = 585). We examine the effect of exposure to a recent police-related death in the same county on the physiological stress (nightly cortisol) levels of black youth. We find evidence of elevated average levels of nightly cortisol (by 46%) for black boys exposed to a police-related death of a black victim in the 30 days prior to the subject’s cortisol collection. We find no evidence of police-related death effects on the physiological stress levels of black girls or white youth. Conclusions These analyses indicate that police-related deaths influence the biological functioning of black boys, with potential negative consequences for health. We consider the implications of exposure to lethal police violence among black boys for understanding racial disparities in health more broadly.
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Objectives This study explores the nexus between low self-control and legal cynicism among a recent sample of at-risk youth while accounting for various features of direct and vicarious police stops. Methods Analyses are based on data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, which employs a national sample of urban-born, at-risk youth. Results A uniquely potent association between low self-control and legal cynicism emerged across samples with and without exposure to vicarious or direct police stops. Furthermore, among youth exposed to police stops, the link between low self-control and legal cynicism was largely robust to perceptions/features of these stops, including the degree of officer intrusiveness, arrest, perceptions of procedural justice, and youth feelings of social stigma following the stop. Conclusions Programmatic efforts that both enhance the early development of self-control through mindfulness and curriculum-based interventions (e.g., Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies) and facilitate trauma-informed policing may be beneficial in curtailing the development of legal cynicism.
Article
Objectives To examine the association between exposure to police stops and sleep behaviors and explore whether social stigma and post-traumatic stress might inform this association. Methods A sample of 3,444 U.S. youth from the most recent wave (2014–2017) of the Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) was employed. Youth reported their sleep quantity and quality, exposure to vicarious and direct police stops, police intrusiveness during police stops, and experiences of social stigma and post-traumatic stress following the stop. Results The findings suggest that youth reporting exposure to police stops exhibited significantly greater odds of sleep deprivation and low sleep quality. Among youth directly stopped by police, youth who reported intrusive police stops (e.g., frisking, harsh language, threat of force) reported significantly lower sleep quality. This association was attenuated to nonsignificance when social stigma and post-traumatic stress following the stop were taken into account. Conclusions Multi-sector teams should carefully consider the role that intrusive police stops might play in shaping adolescent sleep patterns and promote trauma-informed law enforcement practices.
Article
Purpose Considerable research has examined public attitudes toward the police. Yet, little is known about the effects of direct and vicarious police stops upon youths' attitudes and perceptions of police. The purpose of the current study is to analyze the relationship between direct and vicarious police stops and urban youths' attitudes of and perceptions toward police officers. Methods Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey (FFCWS), linear and ordered logistic regressions were used to examine the relationship between police stops and urban youths' perceptions of and attitudes toward police officers. Results Findings indicate that direct and vicarious police stops are associated with lower levels of respect and confidence in the police. We also found that direct and vicarious police stops have a positive relationship with perceptions of procedural justice. However, the positive effect of police stops on procedural justice is mitigated by the level of police intrusiveness during such stops. Conclusions While our findings on respect and confidence suggest that direct and vicarious police stops are catalysts of negative attitude formation, we also show that direct and vicarious stops play an important role in curbing negative sentiments of police injustice.
Article
Objective: Anderson's (1999) "code of the street" (CoS) framework posits that exposure to violence (ETV) is linked to violent offending through youth adopting the CoS. This study quantitatively examines this mediation, as well as the additional mediating role of youths' perceptions of police. Method: This study used a racially/ethnically diverse sample of 1,216 first-time juvenile offenders to test whether perceptions of police bias and the CoS mediate the association between ETV and violent offending. Results: The findings indicated that ETV is directly associated with violent offending but also operates indirectly through both perceptions of police bias and the CoS. However, the CoS emerged as a more impactful mediator than perceptions of the police. In totality, these results indicate that ETV is directly associated with violent offending, yet its effect also operates secondarily through the CoS. Conclusion: Collectively, the results portray the nuanced role that perceptions of the police and the CoS have in explaining violent offending among justice-involved adolescent males. Although affirming the Anderson's theory to some extent, the indirect pathway was less influential than anticipated. Consequently, consistent with literature on the cycle of violence, the results indicate that the mechanisms explaining why violence exposure may lead to violence perpetration appear to be wide-ranging and not uniformly explained by a single characteristic like perceptions of the police or the CoS.
Article
Objectives. To examine negative police encounters and police avoidance as mediators of incarceration history and depressive symptoms among US Black men and to assess the role of unemployment as a moderator of these associations.Methods. Data were derived from the quantitative phase of Menhood, a 2015-2016 study based in Washington, DC. Participants were 891 Black men, 18 to 44 years of age, who completed computer surveys. We used moderated mediation to test the study's conceptual model.Results. The results showed significant indirect effects of incarceration history on depressive symptoms via negative police encounters and police avoidance. Unemployment moderated the indirect effect via police avoidance. Participants with a history of incarceration who were unemployed reported significantly higher police avoidance and, in turn, higher depressive symptoms. Moderation of unemployment on the indirect effect via negative police encounters was not significant.Conclusions. There is a critical need to broaden research on the health impact of mass incarceration to include other aspects of criminal justice involvement (e.g., negative police encounters and police avoidance) that negatively affect Black men's mental health.
Article
Purpose: The current study extends the literature on both Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) self-control theory and adolescent police stops by exploring the role of low self-control in the features and consequences of police stops among urban-born youth. Methods: Data come from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS). Logistic, negative binomial, and ordinary least squares regression are utilized to analyze the data. Mediating hypotheses are examined using the Karlson-Holm-Breen (KHB) method. Results: The findings indicate that youth with lower levels of self-control are more likely to be stopped by the police. Among stopped youth, those with lower levels of self-control are more likely to 1) be stopped multiple times and in multiple locations (particularly at school), 2) report more procedural injustice and officer intrusiveness, and 3) experience greater emotional distress during police encounters and social stigma and posttraumatic stress following encounters. Officer intrusiveness and emotional distress during the stop partly explain the associations between low self-control and post-stop psychological turmoil. Conclusions: Programmatic efforts that directly target facets of temperament, such as low self-control, may in some cases operate to prevent contentious and intrusive encounters between youth and the police as well as the deleterious psychological sequelae that can follow.
Article
The standard account of policy feedback holds that social policy can be self-reinforcing: policies provide resources that promote economic security and well-being, and they also encourage beneficiaries to engage with government. Criminal justice policies have typically had the opposite effect: they embolden those with interests in a punitive policy agenda, while disempowering those most affected by the policies. This is of particular concern for children and adolescents in race-class subjugated communities (RCS), whose first encounters with government beyond public schooling often come through police contact and carry adverse social and political consequences at a critical developmental stage. In this article, we reimagine youth engagement with the state, arguing for substantial reductions in police surveillance of young people and for the promotion of youth attachment to civic life. We call for an investment in institutions, both state-based and community-based, that reinforce political inclusion and civic belonging.
Article
Purpose The aim of the study was to examine the proximate mental health consequences of stressful and emotionally charged interactions with police officers among a national sample of at-risk youth who have been stopped by the police. Methods A sample of 918 youth (average age 15 years) in the U.S. who reported being stopped by police in the most recent wave (2014–2017) of the Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study was used in the present study. Results Although age at first stop was not associated with mental health outcomes, youth stopped by police more frequently were more likely to report heightened emotional distress and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Findings also indicate that being stopped at school and officer intrusiveness were potent predictors of these adverse emotional and mental health responses to the stop. Conclusions Under certain circumstances, the police stop can result in feelings of stigma and trauma among at-risk youth. Youth may benefit when school counselors or social workers provide mental health screenings and offer counseling care after police encounters, particularly when such encounters are intrusive and/or occur at school.
Article
Black Americans comprise 13% of the US population, yet data suggests that they represent 23% of those fatally shot by police officers. Data on non-lethal encounters with police in the Black community is less available but can understandably result in emotional trauma, stress responses, and depressive symptoms. The aim of this systematic literature review is to assess if interactions with the police are associated with mental health outcomes among Black Americans. Following pre-defined inclusion criteria, 11 articles were reviewed. Using a quality assessment tool, eight studies received a fair quality rating, two studies a poor rating, and one study received a good rating. The types of police interaction reported among study participants included police use of force during arrest, police stops, police searches, exposure to police killings, and interactions with police in the court system and varied mental health outcomes. Most of the studies (6 of 11) reviewed found statistically significant associations between police interactions and mental health (psychotic experiences, psychological distress, depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicidal ideation and attempts), indicating a nearly twofold higher prevalence of poor mental health among those reporting a prior police interaction compared to those with no interaction. Although better quality studies are needed, findings suggest an association between police interactions and negative mental health outcomes. Changes in law enforcement policy, development and implementation of a validated instrument for police experiences, improved community outreach, a federally mandated review of policy and practice in police departments, and expanded police training initiatives could reduce the potential negative mental health impact of police interactions on Black Americans.
Article
Black civilians are more likely to be stopped by police than white civilians net of relevant factors. Less is known about whether or not racial inequalities exist in police use of force during stops. Using data on over 2 million police stops in New York City from 2007 to 2014 and drawing on literatures on race, policing, and the Black Lives Matter movement, we test hypotheses regarding the associations between race, civilian behavior, age, and police use of force. We also investigate whether recent reforms reduced any observed inequality in police violence during stops. Findings show that Black and White civilians experience fundamentally different interactions with police. Black civilians are particularly more likely to experience potential lethal force when police uncover criminal activity and this disparity is greatest for black youth compared to white youth. Overall, if there were no racial disparities in police use of force, we estimate that approximately 61,000 fewer stops of black civilians would have included police use of force and 1,000 fewer stops would have included potential lethal force from 2007 to 2014. Furthermore, while reform efforts substantially reduced the number of stops annually, inequalities in police use of force persist.
Article
Police stops are stressful experiences that may be harmful for health. The present study examines the association between police stops and symptoms of depression in the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health. The study sample included non-Hispanic Black (n = 2,118) and White (n = 5,629) adults aged 18–26 years surveyed in 1996 and 2001/2002. Both Black and White young adults who have been stopped by police had more symptoms of depression compared to their never stopped counterparts. Among Blacks, the association was attenuated but persisted after controlling for criminal behavior and justice contact. In contrast, among Whites, the association between police stops and depression was smaller in magnitude, and it was explained by self-reported criminal behavior. Given the frequency and the number of people in contact with police, we point to the need to sensitize police departments to potential mental health consequences of proactive policing, and the decreased willingness of the public to seek police help as a result of previous distressing encounters.
Article
Recent evidence suggests that police victimization is widespread in the USA and psychologically impactful. We hypothesized that civilian-reported police victimization, particularly assaultive victimization (i.e., physical/sexual), would be associated with a greater prevalence of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation. Data were drawn from the Survey of Police-Public Encounters, a population-based survey of adults (N = 1615) residing in four US cities. Surveys assessed lifetime exposure to police victimization based on the World Health Organization domains of violence (i.e., physical, sexual, psychological, and neglect), using the Police Practices Inventory. Logistic regression models tested for associations between police victimization and (1) past 12-month suicide attempts and (2) past 12-month suicidal ideation, adjusted for demographic factors (i.e., gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, income), crime involvement, past intimate partner and sexual victimization exposure, and lifetime mental illness. Police victimization was associated with suicide attempts but not suicidal ideation in adjusted analyses. Specifically, odds of attempts were greatly increased for respondents reporting assaultive forms of victimization, including physical victimization (odds ratio = 4.5), physical victimization with a weapon (odds ratio = 10.7), and sexual victimization (odds ratio = 10.2). Assessing for police victimization and other violence exposures may be a useful component of suicide risk screening in urban US settings. Further, community-based efforts should be made to reduce the prevalence of exposure to police victimization.
Article
Recent studies have examined racial disparities in stop-and-frisk, a widely employed but controversial policing tactic. The statistical evidence, however, has been limited and contradictory. We investigate by analyzing three million stops in New York City over five years, focusing on cases where officers suspected the stopped individual of criminal possession of a weapon (CPW). For each CPW stop, we estimate the ex ante probability that the detained suspect has a weapon. We find that in more than 40% of cases, the likelihood of finding a weapon (typically a knife) was less than 1%, raising concerns that the legal requirement of “reasonable suspicion” was often not met. We further find that blacks and Hispanics were disproportionately stopped in these low hit rate contexts, a phenomenon that we trace to two factors: (1) lower thresholds for stopping individuals — regardless of race — in high-crime, predominately minority areas, particularly public housing; and (2) lower thresholds for stopping minorities relative to similarly situated whites. Finally, we demonstrate that by conducting only the 6% of stops that are statistically most likely to result in weapons seizure, one can both recover the majority of weapons and mitigate racial disparities in who is stopped. We show that this statistically informed stopping strategy can be approximated by simple, easily implemented heuristics with little loss in efficiency.
Article
There is growing interest in crime prevention through early youth interventions; yet, the standard United States response to the crime problem, particularly among juveniles, has been to increase the use and resource allocation allotted toward punishment and incapacitation and away from prevention and treatment. At the same time, longitudinal studies of delinquency and crime have repeatedly documented a strong link between past and future behavior and have identified a small subset of offenders who commit a large share of criminal offenses. These findings suggest that if these offenders can be identified early and correctly and provided with prevention and treatment resources early in the life course, their criminal activity may be curtailed. While researchers have studied these offenders in great detail, little attention has been paid to the costs they exert on society. This paper provides estimates of the cost of crime imposed on society by high risk youth. Our approach follows and builds upon the early framework and basic methodology developed by Cohen (1998), by using new estimates of the costs of individual crimes, ones that are more comprehensive and that significantly increased the monetary cost per crime. We also use new estimates on the underlying offending rate for high risk juvenile offenders.
Article
Recent media accounts have highlighted issues of use and abuse of police force and policing practices targeted at ethnic minorities within inner city areas. To date, little research has focussed specifically on the experiences and perceptions of youth gang members in dealing with police. Using data from 253 in-depth interviews with ethnic minority San Francisco-based youth gang members, we examine perceptions of respectful and disrespectful police behaviour. Premised on a procedural justice model, we explore how frequently disrespectful police behaviour is reported and how these negative experiences shape gang members’ attitudes towards the police more generally. We refine our investigation by comparing adverse encounters to examples in which gang members are treated respectfully. Using a data-driven inductive and qualitative theory testing deductive approach, our data revealed that male and female gang members regularly experience disrespectful police behaviour in terms of physical and verbal abuse. Our findings indicate that these exchanges contribute to negative attitudes, fear and distrust of police, while respectful interactions are meaningful and can contribute to positive attitudes towards officers.
Article
The study documents opinions about the police among black and Latino youth and explores how these assessments reflect differences in lived experiences and frames of interpretation of police encounters across gender and race/ethnicity. This specification is important to better understand how youth navigate interactions with law enforcement and how discrete experiences are interpreted in the context of other contacts of racial and gender inequality. We draw on interviews with 43 black and Latino youth, ages 13–21, compiled as part of a project on police stops in New York City. Although our findings indicate that youth tend to see the police negatively, we note considerable heterogeneity, with Latinos/as conveying more mixed views of law enforcement and females signaling more negative perceptions. We tie these differences to variation in the type, volume, and quality of encounters with the police, as well as the saliency of direct and indirect experiences.
Article
A growing body of research highlights the collateral consequences of mass incarceration, including stop-and-frisk policing tactics. Living in a neighborhood with aggressive policing may affect one's mental health, especially for men who are the primary targets of police stops. We examine whether there is an association between psychological distress and neighborhood-level aggressive policing (i.e., frisking and use of force by police) and whether that association varies by gender. The 2009-2011 New York City (NYC) Stop, Question, and Frisk Database is aggregated to the neighborhood-level (N=34) and merged with individual data from the 2012 NYC Community Health Survey (N= 8,066) via the United Hospital Fund neighborhood of respondents' residence. Weighted multilevel generalized linear models are used to assess main and gendered associations of neighborhood exposures to aggressive police stops on psychological distress (Kessler-6 items). The neighborhood stop rate exhibits inconsistent associations with psychological distress; however, neighborhood-level frisk and use of force proportions are linked to higher levels of non-specific psychological distress among men, but not women. Specifically, men exhibit more non-specific psychological distress and more severe feelings of nervousness, effort, and worthlessness in aggressively surveilled neighborhoods than do women. Male residents are affected by the escalation of stop-and-frisk policing in a neighborhood. Living in a context of aggressive policing is an important risk factor for men's mental health.
Article
Recent studies have examined racial disparities in stop-and-frisk, a widely employed but controversial policing tactic. The statistical evidence, however, has been limited and contradictory. We investigate by analyzing three million stops in New York City over five years, focusing on cases where officers suspected the stopped individual of criminal possession of a weapon (CPW). For each CPW stop, we estimate the ex ante probability that the detained suspect has a weapon. We find that in more than 40% of cases, the likelihood of finding a weapon (typically a knife) was less than 1%, raising concerns that the legal requirement of “reasonable suspicion” was often not met. We further find that blacks and Hispanics were disproportionately stopped in these low hit rate contexts, a phenomenon that we trace to two factors: (1) lower thresholds for stopping individuals—regardless of race—in high-crime, predominately minority areas, particularly public housing; and (2) lower thresholds for stopping minorities relative to similarly situated whites. Finally, we demonstrate that by conducting only the 6% of stops that are statistically most likely to result in weapons seizure, one can both recover the majority of weapons and mitigate racial disparities in who is stopped. We show that this statistically informed stopping strategy can be approximated by simple, easily implemented heuristics with little loss in efficiency.
Book
This book seeks to analyze the issue of race in America after the election of Barack Obama. For the author, the U.S. criminal justice system functions can act as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it adheres to the principle of color blindness.
Article
In this study, we examine race, sex, and self-reported arrest histories (excluding arrests for minor traffic violations) from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY; N = 7,335) for the period 1997 through 2008 covering cumulative arrest histories through ages 18 and 23. The analysis produces three key findings: (1) males have higher cumulative prevalence of arrest than females; and (2) there are important race differences in the probability of arrest for males but not for females. Assuming the missing cases are missing at random, about 30% of black males have experienced at least one arrest by age 18 (vs. about 22% for white males); by age 23 about 49% of black males have been arrested (vs. about 38% for white males). Earlier research using the NLSY showed that the risk of arrest by age 23 was 30%, with nonresponse bounds [25.3%, 41.4%]. This study indicates that the risk of arrest is not evenly distributed across the population. Future research should focus on the identification and management of collateral risks that often accompany arrest experiences.
Article
Recent studies by police departments and researchers confirm that police stop racial and ethnic minority citizens more often than whites, relative to their proportions in the population. However, it has been argued stop rates more accurately reflect rates of crimes committed by each ethnic group, or that stop rates reflect elevated rates in specific social areas such as neighborhoods or precincts. Most of the research on stop rates and police-citizen interactions has focused on traffic stops, and analyses of pedestrian stops are rare. In this paper, we analyze data from 175,000 pedestrian stops by the New York Police Department over a fifteen-month period. We disaggregate stops by police precinct, and compare stop rates by racial and ethnic group controlling for previous race-specific arrest rates. We use hierarchical multilevel models to adjust for precinct-level variability, thus directly addressing the question of geographic heterogeneity that arises in the analysis of pedestrian stops. We find that persons of African and Hispanic descent were stopped more frequently than whites, even after controlling for precinct variability and race-specific estimates of crime participation.
Police brutality must stop. American Medical Association. 2020.
  • Ehrenfeld J.M.
  • Harris P.A.
Ehrenfeld JM, Harris PA. Police brutality must stop. American Medical Association. 2020. Available at: https://www.ama-assn.org/about/leadership/ police-brutality-must-stop?utm_campaign¼meetedgar&utm_medium¼ social&utm_source¼meetedgar.com. Accessed October 29, 2020.
Contacts between police and the public.
  • Harrel E.
  • Davis E.
Harrel E, Davis E. Contacts between police and the public. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics; 2018.
Policing America's children: Police contact and consequences among teens in fragile families
  • A Geller
Geller A. Policing America's children: Police contact and consequences among teens in fragile families. CRCW Working Paper WP18-02-FF. Princeton, NJ: Center for Research on Child Wellbeing; 2018.
Research on body-worn cameras: What we know, what we need to know.
  • Lum C.
  • Stoltz M.
  • Koper C.S.
  • Scherer J.A.
Lum C, Stoltz M, Koper CS, Scherer JA. Research on body-worn cameras: What we know, what we need to know. Criminol Public Policy 2019;18: 93e118.
Research on body-worn cameras: What we know, what we need to know
  • Lum
Policing America’s children: Police contact and consequences among teens in fragile families. CRCW Working Paper WP18-02-FF.
  • Geller A.