How exposure to police stops may induce severe distress among Black adolescents

Since the onset of many unusual encounters between law enforcement and African Americans, mass media entities have been fixated on shining a spotlight on purported instances of racial discrimination.

According to a study released in the Journal of Adolescent Health, only merely witnessing police stops can induce emotional distress among young Black adolescents.

For the study, a national sample of nearly 1,500 American adolescents who were exposed to police stops, without directly encountering them.

“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,” the study says.

The study concluded that severe distress was evident among the young participants, with racial disparities at the center of their emotional distress during exposure to police stops.

“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,” the study also concluded.

“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.”

Image courtesy of PA
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