Illness spillovers of lethal police violence: the significance of gendered marginalization

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Police violence is a pressing public health problem. To gauge the illness associations of police killings–the most severe form of police brutality, we compile a unique multilevel dataset that nests individual-level health data from the 2009–2013 New York City Community Health Survey (nij = 39,267) within neighbourhood-level data from 2003 to 2012 EpiQuery Vital Statistics (nj = 34). Using weighted hierarchical generalized linear models, we assess main and gendered associations between neighbourhood exposures to lethal policing and five illnesses. Holding all else constant, living in lethally surveilled areas is linked to a greater risk of high blood pressure and obesity for all neighbourhood residents and to a greater risk of obesity for women. Furthermore, illness risks are also gendered: Women face a 30–54 percent greater risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity compared to men. Lethal police brutality is an important neighbourhood risk factor for illness and, especially, for women’s health.




Sewell, A. A., Feldman, J. M., Ray, R., Gilbert, K. L., Jefferson, K. A., & Lee, H. (2020). Illness spillovers of lethal police violence: the significance of gendered marginalization. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1–26.

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