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A Guide to African and African-American Studies


When Black Americans Encounter Police Violence, High Anxiety Often Follows

(HEALTHDAY). May 6, 2021

By Cara Murez, HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A new survey confirms what many young Black Americans already know: They are vulnerable to anxiety disorders, particularly during contact with the police or in anticipation of police contact.

"I think it's important, given what's going on in society," said survey author Robert Motley, PhDRace and Opportunity Lab Manager at Washington University in St. Louis.

"And I think it helps us to get a better understanding because a lot of this research on police violence and mental health outcomes have really only started burgeoning since the Mike Brown incident," Motley said, referencing the shooting of a Black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

"We still don't fully know its impact, number one, because we don't really know the true rates of exposure, not even how many people are killed by police but how many people are just exposed to nonfatal police use of force," he said.

The survey found that police contact anxiety was moderately high among the 300 survey participants, all of whom attended a community college or university in St. Louis. Being male, unemployed and having witnessed more community violence were significantly associated with greater police contact anxiety.

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