Race and Stereotypes Matter When You Ask About Conduct Problems: Implications for Violence Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice Settings [2019]

We examined the impact of stigma priming on self-reported severe conduct problems in two studies conducted with African American adolescents involved in the juvenile justice system. Data-collection interviews were conducted in a secure detention setting following arrest. In Study 1 (N = 193), stigma was primed by manipulating the ordering of surveys. Adolescents who completed a questionnaire about racial identity attitudes prior to questions about severe conduct reported substantively more problematic behaviors than control group peers (β = 0.43). In Study 2 (N = 264), stigma was primed by manipulating whether adolescents were interviewed by an African American or European American mental health professional. Racial group membership of the interviewer did not have a substantial effect on self-reported conduct problems (β = −0.04). Although the studies were not without limitations, they highlight the need for more research on the degree to which interview methods and context influence self-reported severe conduct behavior in forensic settings.

James R. Andretta, Frank C. Worrell, Katara M. Watkins, Ryan M. Sutton, Adrian D. Thompson, Malcolm H. Woodland
Journal of Black Psychology, January 2, 2019