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Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Policing and the Mental Health Consequences Among Adolescents in the United States and the United Kingdom

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... From a policy perspective, "Psychohairapy" (Mbilishaka, 2018) is one promising program that runs mental health resources through the beauty salon. Black Americans disproportionately suffer mental health issues due to structural racism, economic hardship, and other adversities; yet, they are less likely to seek mental health care than their white counterparts (Ault-Brutus, 2012;Del Toro, 2021;Jordan & Dixon, 2021;Oates & DeMaris, 2022). In this regard, we suggest that other counseling or treatment services, such as cognitive behavior therapy, mentorship programs, and life skills training could also run through the barbershop and beauty salon. ...
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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).
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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.
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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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Black men tend to be stereotyped as threatening and, as a result, may be disproportionately targeted by police even when unarmed. Here, we found evidence that biased perceptions of young Black men’s physical size may play a role in this process. The results of 7 studies showed that people have a bias to perceive young Black men as bigger (taller, heavier, more muscular) and more physically threatening (stronger, more capable of harm) than young White men. Both bottom-up cues of racial prototypicality and top-down information about race supported these misperceptions. Furthermore, this racial bias persisted even among a target sample from whom upper-body strength was controlled (suggesting that racial differences in formidability judgments are a product of bias rather than accuracy). Biased formidability judgments in turn promoted participants’ justifications of hypothetical use of force against Black suspects of crime. Thus, perceivers appear to integrate multiple pieces of information to ultimately conclude that young Black men are more physically threatening than young White men, believing that they must therefore be controlled using more aggressive measures.
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Research on children and the law has recently renewed its focus on the development of children's ties to law and legal actors. We identify the developmental process through which these relations develop as legal socialization, a process that unfolds during childhood and adolescence as part of a vector of developmental capital that promotes compliance with the law and cooperation with legal actors. In this paper, we show that ties to the law and perceptions of law and legal actors among children and adolescents change over time and age. We show that neighborhood contexts and experiences with legal actors shape the outcomes of legal socialization. Children report lower ratings of legitimacy of the law and greater legal cynicism when they view interactions with legal actors as unfair and harsh. We show that perceived legitimacy of law and legal authorities shapes compliance with the law, and that these effects covary with social contexts including neighborhood. We identify neighborhood differences in this relationship that reflect differential experiences of children with criminal justice authorities and other social control agents. The results suggest that legal actors may play a role in socialization processes that lead to compliance with or rejection of legal and social norms.
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Objectives. To assess police contact as a potential adverse childhood experience by measuring its prevalence, nature, and distribution among urban adolescents. Methods. Detailed US population-based data on youth‒police contact were collected in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (n = 2478) from 2014 to 2017. Using regression modeling, I assessed adolescents’ police exposure and the magnitude and robustness of racial disparities in police contact. Sensitivity analyses examined disparities by behavior and socioeconomic context. Results. Urban youths are heavily policed, beginning in preadolescence. Exposure to policing is unevenly distributed, with non-White adolescents—particularly Black boys—reporting more, and more aggressive, contact than their White counterparts. Hispanic‒White differences and disparities in girls’ experiences were less pronounced but present, particularly in how intrusive stops were. Intrusion disparities were robust to most behavioral controls, but not observed among youths with higher socioeconomic status. Conclusions. Given extant literature documenting adverse health consequences of police encounters, findings implicate policing as a driver of health disparities in adolescence and throughout the life course. Public health infrastructure dedicated to the prevention and treatment of adverse childhood experiences is well suited for mitigating these harms and inequities. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print May 20, 2021: e1–e9. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2021.306259 )
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In response to changes in policing practices, scholarship has increasingly begun to explore whether police contact has negative implications for youth. A small subset of scholarship has examined the implications of police contact for educational outcomes. This research has generally focused on serious police contact (arrest, court involvement, and incarceration) and has found that police contact is associated with worse educational outcomes. In this paper, we build on this research in three ways: 1) By differentiating between arrests and stops that do not result in arrest; 2) By examining the implications of vicarious police contact; and 3) By examining the pathways through which experiencing arrest, experiencing a police stop without an arrest, and vicariously experiencing police contact may impact educational achievement. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we find that arrest, police contact that does not result in arrest, and vicarious police contact are all associated with reductions in educational achievement. We also find that these associations are mediated at least in part by the impact of police contact on teen delinquency, teen attitudes towards teachers, and teen mental health.
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In this article, Derron Wallace examines how Black Caribbean youth perceive and experience stop-and-frisk and stop-and-search practices in New York City and London, respectively, while on their way to and from public schools. Despite a growing body of scholarship on the relationship between policing and schooling in the United States and United Kingdom, comparative research on how students experience stop-and-frisk/search remains sparse. Drawing on the BlackCrit tradition of critical race theory and in-depth interviews with sixty Black Caribbean secondary school students in London and New York City, Wallace explores how adolescents experience adult-like policing to and from schools. His findings indicate that participants develop a strained sense of belonging in British and American societies due to a security paradox: a policing formula that, in principle, promises safety for all but in practice does so at the expense of some Black youth. Participants in the ethnographic study learned that irrespective of ethnicity, Black youth are regularly rendered suspicious subjects worthy of scrutiny, even during the school commute.
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Over the last several decades, proactive policing, in which departments use data on reported crimes to determine where local police officers will target their surveillance, has increased police contact with residents in certain neighborhoods. Drawing on field research conducted over a three-year period (2007–2010) among adult and adolescent African American men in a San Francisco neighborhood with a concentrated poor, Black population, I provide an ethnographic account of routine encounters with the police that structure adolescent boys’ daily lives in potentially significant ways. I build on Erving Goffman's discussion of “patterns of mortification” to describe how typical encounters unfold in the day-to-day lives of young men and consider the implications of such encounters for healthy adolescent development. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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The social category "children" defines a group of individuals who are perceived to be distinct, with essential characteristics including innocence and the need for protection (Haslam, Rothschild, & Ernst, 2000). The present research examined whether Black boys are given the protections of childhood equally to their peers. We tested 3 hypotheses: (a) that Black boys are seen as less "childlike" than their White peers, (b) that the characteristics associated with childhood will be applied less when thinking specifically about Black boys relative to White boys, and (c) that these trends would be exacerbated in contexts where Black males are dehumanized by associating them (implicitly) with apes (Goff, Eberhardt, Williams, & Jackson, 2008). We expected, derivative of these 3 principal hypotheses, that individuals would perceive Black boys as being more responsible for their actions and as being more appropriate targets for police violence. We find support for these hypotheses across 4 studies using laboratory, field, and translational (mixed laboratory/field) methods. We find converging evidence that Black boys are seen as older and less innocent and that they prompt a less essential conception of childhood than do their White same-age peers. Further, our findings demonstrate that the Black/ape association predicted actual racial disparities in police violence toward children. These data represent the first attitude/behavior matching of its kind in a policing context. Taken together, this research suggests that dehumanization is a uniquely dangerous intergroup attitude, that intergroup perception of children is underexplored, and that both topics should be research priorities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
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This article proposes a framework for theory and research on risk-taking that is informed by developmental neuroscience. Two fundamental questions motivate this review. First, why does risk-taking increase between childhood and adolescence? Second, why does risk-taking decline between adolescence and adulthood? Risk-taking increases between childhood and adolescence as a result of changes around the time of puberty in the brain's socio-emotional system leading to increased reward-seeking, especially in the presence of peers, fueled mainly by a dramatic remodeling of the brain's dopaminergic system. Risk-taking declines between adolescence and adulthood because of changes in the brain's cognitive control system - changes which improve individuals' capacity for self-regulation. These changes occur across adolescence and young adulthood and are seen in structural and functional changes within the prefrontal cortex and its connections to other brain regions. The differing timetables of these changes make mid-adolescence a time of heightened vulnerability to risky and reckless behavior.