Youth Profiles of Police-Initiated Post-Traumatic Stress Symptomatology

Michael C. Gearhart, Annah Bender, Sheila Barnhart, Kristen A. Berg, Courtney Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Police-initiated post-traumatic stress symptomatology (PI-PTSS) refers to post-traumatic stress symptoms that are rooted in interactions with police officers. Research on PI-PTSS is scarce, though results typically suggest that invasive police behaviors are associated with higher levels of PI-PTSS. However, this research utilizes a general measure of PI-PTSS, failing to account for unique profiles of PI-PTSS that may be present in the data. Further, research has yet to the relationship between PI-PTSS and co-morbidities. The present study utilizes latent class analysis (LCA) to identify profiles of PI-PTSS, tests predictors of latent class membership, and tests latent classes as predictors of depressive symptomatology among a sample of 816 youth in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Findings from identified three profiles of PI-PTSS: low PI-PTSS, avoidance, and high PI-PTSS. The odds of belonging to the high PI-PTSS are greater for youth in low-income households, black youth, and youth who have been stopped by the police multiple times. Membership in the high PI-PTSS class is also associated with higher levels of depressive symptomatology. Our findings highlight the need to develop tactics that minimize the negative impact that police can have when responding to crime, and create mechanisms that increase the effectiveness of police when responding to non-crime situations that require a social service response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-537
Number of pages13
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.


  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Policing
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (all)


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