Negative Encounters With Police Have Mental Health Consequences for Black Men

Adversarial encounters with police have a powerful negative effect on black men’s mental health, as do efforts to avoid such encounters, according to a study from a team at the George Washington University.

“These types of negative encounters exist on a spectrum, from police violence to racial profiling and casual disrespect,” said lead author Lisa Bowleg, a professor of psychology in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. “And when all of your mental energy is devoted to avoiding the police—how you dress, how you walk, who’s looking at you—that hypervigilance could also have an intense physical effect. So all of that has an implication for individual and public health.”

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