Abstract: Policing and Neighborhood Cohesion Among Black Caregivers: Investigating the Role of Cultural Race-Related Stress (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

Policing and Neighborhood Cohesion Among Black Caregivers: Investigating the Role of Cultural Race-Related Stress

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Mint, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Camille Quinn, PhD, AM, LCSW, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Elan Hope, PhD, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University, NC
Background and Purpose: Policing in minority communities has focused on attitudes and perceptions of the police and only recently have scholars investigated experiences that shape and form perceptions communities have about the police and policing. By including social and psychological research from the procedural justice arena with a focus on the fair treatment of citizens by police within encounters between citizens and police officers, the focus has expanded. Investigating perceptions of procedural justice in policing among Black adult caregivers, as well as environmental and structural factors that may influence perceptions of procedural justice is key. Elucidating these relationships provides the needed context to inform policing approaches in communities given its principles are largely based on ensuring the shared good through law enforcement. This study explored how neighborhood cohesion is related to perceptions of procedural justice in policing, and the moderating role of cultural race-related stress among Black caregivers.

Methods: Data from the Black Families Project – a dyadic survey of Black adolescents and their primary caregiver from across the United States with an analytical sample (n=604) of self-identified Black caregivers of adolescent children ages 14 to 17 years old (M = 42.8 years; SD = 8.3). Most participants identified as female (N = 511; 84.6%). Most of the sample identified as African American (74%). Other ethnic backgrounds represented including African (14.6%), Caribbean/West Indian (6%), and multiethnic (5.4%). Participants were located across the United States with representation from 37 states and the District of Columbia. Average annual income reported was between $45,000 - $54,999 and 64.2% of participants reported being employed full time. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted using SPSS Version 25. Analyses included mean group differences in neighborhood cohesion and beliefs about police procedural justice by gender, police stop history, and arrest history. Hierarchical regression analyses of a US sample of Black adults (N = 604) examine if neighborhood cohesion and cultural race-related stress relate to global procedural justice in policing and procedural justice during a critical police stop. Moderation analyses were conducted to determine if cultural race-related stress strengthens or weakens the relationship between neighborhood cohesion and procedural justice in policing.

Results: Examination of multiple fit statistics were significant for both procedural justice models. Neighborhood cohesion was positively related to procedural justice at critical stops. For participants with above average stress from cultural racism, positive neighborhood cohesion was related to greater global perceptions of procedural justice in policing. Groups differed significantly on additional tests.

Conclusion/Implications: Black citizens with histories of police contact/arrest bear the burden of experiences on a micro and macro level. These findings highlight the need to improve structural interventions and local environmental factors like living in areas where there are higher concentrations of poverty that can influence residents’ perceptions of police in the US. Next steps must focus on improving socioeconomic status and note contextual distinctions that must be considered in broader conversations to leverage protective factors citizens possess based on the strengths and benefits of their communities.