Police stops and sleep behaviors among at-risk youth

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To examine the association between exposure to police stops and sleep behaviors and explore whether social stigma and post-traumatic stress might inform this association. Methods: A sample of 3,444 U.S. youth from the most recent wave (2014–2017) of the Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) was employed. Youth reported their sleep quantity and quality, exposure to vicarious and direct police stops, police intrusiveness during police stops, and experiences of social stigma and post-traumatic stress following the stop. Results: The findings suggest that youth reporting exposure to police stops exhibited significantly greater odds of sleep deprivation and low sleep quality. Among youth directly stopped by police, youth who reported intrusive police stops (e.g., frisking, harsh language, threat of force) reported significantly lower sleep quality. This association was attenuated to nonsignificance when social stigma and post-traumatic stress following the stop were taken into account. Conclusions: Multi-sector teams should carefully consider the role that intrusive police stops might play in shaping adolescent sleep patterns and promote trauma-informed law enforcement practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Mental health
  • Police
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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