Anticipated Negative Police-Youth Encounters and Depressive Symptoms among Pregnant African American Women: A Brief Report.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The widely publicized violent encounters between police and African American youth have unknown consequences for the emotional and mental health of pregnant African American women. Since studies document the hypervigilance black mothers exert to protect children from violence and racism and findings also reveal the association between racial and gendered stress (which includes parenting stressors) and depressive symptoms during pregnancy, an examination of the effects of stress from anticipated negative experiences between black youth and police on maternal mental health is warranted. Between July and August 2014, 100 mostly low income pregnant African American women who lived in metropolitan Atlanta and were in their first and second trimesters completed the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale, selected items from the Jackson, Hogue, Phillips contextualized stress measure, and a demographic form. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were conducted in response to questions that asked: (1) is the anticipation of negative encounters between black youth and police associated with antenatal depressive symptoms and (2) how does the presence of prior children, male or female, contribute to the association? For question 1, the results showed that anticipated negative African American youth-police experiences were significantly associated with antenatal depressive symptoms χ 2 (2, N = 87) = 12.62, p = .002. For question 2, the presence of a preschool-aged male child in the home was significantly associated with antenatal depression (p = .009, odds ratio = 13.23). The observed associations between antenatal depressive symptoms and anticipated negative police-youth encounters have implications for clinical- and community-based interventions responding to the unique psychosocial risks for pregnant African American women.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jackson, FM; James, SA; Owens, TC; Bryan, AF

Published Date

  • April 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 94 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 259 - 265

PubMed ID

  • 28283944

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5391334

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-2869

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1099-3460

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11524-017-0136-3


  • eng