Author's School

Brown School

Author's Department

Social Work


English (en)

Date of Award

Summer 7-7-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Vetta Sanders Thompson


Youth racialized as non-White are more likely to experience police contact than racialized White youth, from a police stop to victimization at the hands of law enforcement. Encountering police can be a particularly traumatic event that may justify why some youth report parental engagement “The Talk” (e.g., families sharing with their loved ones how to prepare for police contact to remain safe and survive a police encounter). The extant research on this topic has been primarily explored from the perspective of adults and among racially homogenous samples, namely Black participants. Less studied is how parental engagement in “The Talk” occurs among more racially diverse samples of youth and what specific factors may predict youth reporting that their parent has told them what to do when encountering police. This research contributes to the literature by using secondary longitudinal quantitative data to examine how prior contact with police may predict future parental engagement in “The Talk” among a racially diverse sample of youth in St. Louis County, Missouri. Random effects ordered logistic regression results showed males, Black youth, and youth who attended school in North County reported higher odds of parental engagement in receiving “The Talk.” Findings also revealed that multiracial youth experiencing prior vicarious police contact (e.g., witnessing others experience a police encounter) was associated with the highest odds of subsequent parental engagement in “The Talk.” Exposure to LGBTQ discrimination among White youth and religious discrimination among Black youth was also associated with lower odds of parental engagement in “The Talk. Implications for social work policy, practice, and research are also discussed in light of these findings.

Available for download on Tuesday, December 31, 2024