Police behaviors and procedural justice: Testing predictors of police-initiated post-traumatic stress symptoms

Publication Year


Journal Article

Research consistently demonstrates that youth involved with the juvenile justice system experience higher levels of trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder. Though prior research suggests that youths’ interactions with the police can be a traumatic experience, relatively little research attempts to study post-traumatic stress symptoms within the context of police-youth relationships. Further, research testing the relationship between procedural justice behaviors and police-initiated post-traumatic stress symptomatology PI-PTSS among youth is limited. We test procedural justice behaviors as a protective factor as it relates to PI-PTSS. The results suggest that officers’ verbal behaviors play a critical role in influencing PI-PTSS among a sample of youth, but procedural justice buffer youth from the potentially negative effects of interactions with the police. Findings highlight the importance of trauma informed care and procedural justice in juvenile justice settings including police-youth interactions, and underscore the importance of interdisciplinary collaborations between social workers and criminal justice professionals.

Children and Youth Services Review
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