Study Finds Everyday Exposure to Police May Be Harmful to the Mental Health of Black Youth

According to a new study, exposure to police — even in instances in which the officers are providing assistance — may be detrimental to the health and well-being of Black youth, especially males, and can be associated with poor mental health, substance use, risky sexual behaviors, and impaired safety.

“While there has been growing attention toward the deaths of Black Americans by police, less focus is being given to the everyday, routine encounters that Black youth have with police,” said lead author Monique Jindal, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois Chicago. Examples of contact with police included the presence of police in schools, personal experiences ranging from benign stops and interactions to use of force and arrest, and witnessed encounters.

Dr. Jindal said the study revealed that “contact with police often leads to Black youth being treated as adults at ages when they should just be children, a phenomenon known as ‘adultification.’” The researchers also found that Black youth described a constant fear for their lives, hopelessness, and feelings of alienation from society at large, given the lack of support from social institutions, such as law enforcement.

By reviewing studies that looked at the relationship between police exposure and health, Dr. Jindal and her colleagues repeatedly saw impaired safety as one of the outcomes. This occurred, they learned, from direct police maltreatment, including verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and dehumanization, and being made vulnerable to other violence as a result of contact with police. “What was jarring for me was recognizing the ubiquitous and pervasive nature of these encounters — with studies included in our review taking place in grade schools, predominantly White institutions, historically Black colleges, neighborhoods of varying racial compositions, streets, parks, etc.” Dr. Jindal reported.

The full study, “Police Exposures and the Health and Well-being of Black Youth in the US,” was published on the website of JAMA Pediatrics. It may be accessed here.

Related Articles


  1. It’s quite apparent that Ms. Jindal is totally ignorant of the daily realities that “native born Black Americans youth, teenagers, young adults, adults and older adults experience under the guise of White police terror. As such, Ms. Jindal’s research is not new within Black academia and should be viewed accordingly.

    Let’s be clear. White academia has always used the Black community as nothing more than an research petri dish to fiscally enrich themselves, enhance their publication record along with the identifying themselves as “experts on the Black community”. Nothing could be further from the truth. That said, I would recommend Ms. Jindal conduct research on how the caste system impact youth outcomes from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

HBCUs Receive Major Funding From Blue Meridian Partners

The HBCU Transformation Project is a collaboration between the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), and Partnership for Education Advancement. Forty HBCUs are currently working with the project and additional campuses are expected to join this year. The partnership recently received a $124 million investment from Blue Meridian Partners.

Four African American Scholars Who Are Taking on New Duties

Channon Miller is a new assistant professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and Quienton L. Nichols is the new associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. M. D. Lovett has joined Clark Atlanta University as an associate professor of psychology and associate professor Robyn Autry was named director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

U.S. News and World Report’s Latest Rankings of the Nation’s Top HBCUs

Spelman College in Atlanta was ranked as the best HBCU and Howard University in Washington, D.C., was second. This was the same as a year ago. This was the 17th year in a row that Spelman College has topped the U.S. News rankings for HBCUs.

University of Georgia’s J. Marshall Shepherd Honored by the Environmental Law Institute

Dr. Shepherd is a professor of geography, the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor, and the director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of Georgia. Before joining the faculty at the University of Georgia, he was a research meteorologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Dr. Shepherd is an expert in the fields of weather, climate, and remote sensing.

Featured Jobs