Aggressive Policing and the Mental Health of Young Urban Men

American Journal of Public Health. Posted online ahead of print, October 16, 2014.

Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-382

27 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2014 Last revised: 29 Oct 2014

See all articles by Amanda Geller

Amanda Geller

NYU Department of Sociology

Jeffrey Fagan

Columbia Law School

Tom Tyler

Yale University - Law School

Bruce Link

Columbia University - Department of Epidemiology

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 1, 2014

Abstract

Objectives: We provide the first population-based analysis of the health implications of contemporary policing. Many cities have adopted “proactive” policing models, which engage citizens – often aggressively – at low levels of suspicion. We survey young men on their experiences of police encounters and subsequent mental health.

Methods: We conducted a population-based phone survey of 1,261 young men in New York City. Respondents reported how many times they were approached by New York Police Department (NYPD) officers, what these encounters entailed, any trauma they attributed to the stops, and their overall anxiety. Data were analyzed using cross-sectional regression.

Results: Respondents reporting more police contact also reported more trauma and anxiety symptoms, associations tied not just to how many stops they reported but to 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 re-evaluate officer interactions with the public. Less invasive tactics are needed, both for suspects who may display mental health symptoms, and to reduce any psychological harms to individuals stopped.

Suggested Citation

Geller, Amanda and Fagan, Jeffrey and Tyler, Tom and Link, Bruce, Aggressive Policing and the Mental Health of Young Urban Men (April 1, 2014). American Journal of Public Health. Posted online ahead of print, October 16, 2014.; Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-382 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2414129

Amanda Geller (Contact Author)

NYU Department of Sociology ( email )

295 Lafayette St.
4th Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States
212-992-8762 (Phone)

Jeffrey Fagan

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-2624 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.columbia.edu/fac/Jeffrey_Fagan

Tom Tyler

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Bruce Link

Columbia University - Department of Epidemiology ( email )

722 West 168th Street
New York, NY 10032
United States

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