The study model explores the impact of police action on the health of the population

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Conceptual model that represents the relationship between the police and the health of the population. Credit: University of Washington

Does a specific police action, arrest or shooting have an immediate and direct effect on the people involved, but to what extent do the reverberations of this action spread throughout the community? What are the health consequences for a specific population, although not necessarily geographically defined?

The authors of a new UW-led study studying these issues write that, since law enforcement interacts directly with a large number of people, “police may be a visible but not well-understood factor. . “

Understand how affects the mental, physical, social and structural health and well-being of a community is a complex challenge, involving many academic and research disciplines such as criminology, sociology, psychology, and research on social justice, environment, economics, and history.

“We needed a map of how to think about the complex issues at the intersection of police and health,” said lead author Maayan Simckes, a recent doctoral graduate from the UW Department of Epidemiology who worked on this study as apart from his dissertation.

So, Simckes said, he set out to create one which represents the complex relationship between the police and the health of the population and brought together an interdisciplinary team of researchers to collaborate.

“This model shows how different types of encounters with the police can affect the health of the population at various levels, through different pathways, and that factors such as community characteristics and state and local politics can play a role.” said Simckes, who currently works for the Washington State Department of Health.

The study, published in early June in the journal Social Sciences and Medicine, covers the various factors that can help explain the health impacts of policing by synthesizing research published in various disciplines.

“This study provides a useful tool for researchers studying policing and population health across many different disciplines. It has the potential to help guide research on the critical issue of policing and health for many years to come. , ”said lead author Anjum Hajat, an associate professor in the UW Department of Epidemiology

For example, the study notes when effects are considered at the individual level that “after physical injury and death, mental health may be the most frequently discussed topic in the context of police-community interaction … A northern study American found that among men, anxiety symptoms were significantly associated with the frequency of police stops and the perception of the intrusiveness of the encounter. “

Among the many other examples of research explored in the new model, researchers also examine the cyclical nature of policing and population health. They point out that police stops tend to cluster in disadvantaged communities and “saturating these communities with invasive tactics can lead to a more concentrated crime.” Consequently, it may be “impossible” to determine whether police practices caused a neighborhood to experience more crimes or whether those practices responded to a crime. However, the goal of the model is to capture these complex “two-way” relationships.

“Our model underscores the importance of reforming police practices and policies to ensure that they are promoted effectively Welfare at all levels, “Simckes said.” I hope that this study will ignite more dialogue and action around the roles and responsibilities of those who make up higher education and in the clinical and public sphere. professions to advance and promote and equity in our communities. ”


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More information:
Maayan Simckes et al, The Adverse Effects of Police on Population Health: A Conceptual Model, Social Sciences and Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.socscimed.2021.114103

Citation: The study model explores the impact of police action on the health of the population (2021, July 10) recovered on July 10, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- explores-impact-police-action-population.html

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