Consequences of fearing police: Associations with youths' mental health and felt obligation to obey both the law and school rules

Adam D. Fine, Juan Del Toro, Carlena Orosco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The procedural justice framework suggests that negative perceptions of the police are linked to crime-related behavior. General strain theory could illuminate a key mechanism; negative perceptions of the police might undermine the obligation to obey laws and rules through promoting strain and psychological distress. This study integrated these two theoretical perspectives to examine whether youths' fear of the police might undermine their felt obligation to obey authority institutions, including the law and school, through promoting psychological distress. Children (N = 342) ages 10–12 were sampled in November of 2020. Consistent with theoretical expectations, children's fear of the police was indirectly associated with their felt obligation to obey both the law and school rules through undermining their mental health. These findings have implications for policy, practice, and research; youths' fear of the police may undermine their mental health and may have downstream consequences on their felt obligation to obey not only the law, but also school rules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101934
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Fear of the police
  • General strain theory
  • Mental health
  • Obligation to obey
  • Procedural justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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