Early Exclusionary Discipline, Police Contact, and Legal Cynicism among Urban-Born, At-Risk Youth
Research has revealed that exclusionary discipline elevates the risk of arrest, incarceration, and associated deleterious outcomes. Few if any studies, however, have examined the link between exclusionary discipline during childhood and the development of legal cynicism. This present thesis aims to address this void in research using data from the Fragile Families and Child Well Being Study (FFCWS). Police contact as well as five contextual features of police contact are also examined as mediators in the full sample of youth as well as those who report a history of police stops. Results reveal that early exclusionary discipline is a significant predictor of increased legal cynicism. This finding holds true among youth stopped by the police and is partially explained by officer intrusiveness and perceptions of procedural justice. The findings point to a need for establishing a positive school culture and employing restorative justice practices in the school setting in order to reduce the number of youth who experience early exclusionary discipline and minimize the negative repercussions of early punishment experiences.