Measuring the Impacts of Exposure to Perceived Racism-Based Police-Involved Interactions for Emerging Adults

Project Summary

The research team will validate a measure of perceived racism-based police violence (RPV) among emerging adults (aged 18-29) who identify as non-Hispanic Black/African American or Latinx, and assess differences in rates of exposure by gender, ethnicity, heritage country/region, and nativity.

Research Question(s)

  1. Do the direct and indirect exposure to perceived racism-based police violence scales show content validity, measurement reliability, factorial and construct validity, measurement invariance across gender and ethnicity, and internal-consistency reliability among emerging adults?
  2. How does the prevalence of exposure (direct and indirect) to perceived racism-based police violence vary across gender, ethnicity, heritage country/region, and nativity?


  • Assist mental health professionals in assessing for perceived RPV exposure to ensure a more holistic understanding of the trauma experiences for the Black/African American and Latinx emerging adults they serve.
  • Provide social science researchers with a novel tool to examine and report rates of RPV violence exposure as a way to improve police accountability.

Racial Equity Implications

Due to the prevalence and negative health implications of racism-based police practices (e.g., racial profiling), the public health profession has advocated for police violence and racism to be included in measures of social determinants of health. The investigators anticipate that the research findings will have real-world applications across social science research, clinical mental health care, and law enforcement settings to influence individual and population level racial and mental health equity in regard to perceived RPV exposure for emerging adults.


The primary outcome of this study is the predictive validity of perceived RPV scales, which is vital for establishing the criterion-based validity of a measure. The study is designed to validate the perceived RPV scales with emerging adults aged 18- 29 who identify as non-Hispanic Black/African American or Latinx and provide evidence of predictive validity for the scales by documenting a significant positive relationship between the perceived RPV scales and the Kessler 10-item (K10) scale.


This measure validation study will utilize a cross-sectional mixed-method design, conducting individual cognitive interviews (N = 50) and computer assisted surveys (N = 1,000). A diverse Expert Content Panel and Community Advisory Board will be engaged to advise on instrument items, translation, recruitment, and other relevant research components. Panel Aggregator, Qualtrics, will be used for recruitment and computer assisted survey data collection. A variety of analytical techniques, including synthesis/reduction analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, measurement invariance, reliability analysis, and multivariate regression will be conducted to examine the reliability/validity of the perceived RPV scales and differences in rates of exposure.

Serious looking young Black man being interviewed by a young Black woman in an office setting
Grantee and Partner organizations
  • Boston College
  • Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
  • RaĆ­ces Venezolanas
  • Christ the King Episcopal Church
  • GreenRoots
  • HomeGrown StL, an affiliation of the Race & Opportunity Lab within the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Community Advisory Board
  • Expert Content Panel
Grant status
In Progress
Principal investigators
Robert O Motley Jr., PhD
Christopher Salas-Wright, PhD
Start date
Award amount
24 months

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