Silence After Stops? Assessing Youth Disclosure of Police Encounters

Dylan B. Jackson, Daniel C. Semenza, Alexander Testa, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Youth–police encounters are common in the United States, with potentially serious mental health ramifications requiring social supports to cope. Still, no research has examined youth disclosure of these experiences to others. Using a national sample of youth stopped by police (N = 918; 56.09% Black, 20.48% Hispanic), we find that more than two-thirds disclosed police encounters—most commonly to mothers. Even so, disclosure became less likely as perceptions of procedural injustice, social stigma, and legal cynicism increased. Among youth who disclosed stops but not to parents, disclosure to friends was common (61.18%), whereas disclosure to nonparent adults was not. Enhanced training for teachers, school counselors, and community leaders may improve youth outcomes by facilitating additional opportunities for disclosure and support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1246-1258
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Society for Research on Adolescence.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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