Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Rodger K. Bufford, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mary Peterson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Amy Johnson


Recently there has been tension between law enforcement and youth communities throughout the United States. The purpose of this study was to create a program designed to foster positive relationships and attitudes between urban youth and law enforcement. Current literature is limited in understanding how programs like the one utilized in this study can influence law enforcement and youth relationships. Similar programs which engage law enforcement and youth are few in number and generally lack scientific evidence of efficacy. Eighteen participants engaged in an eight-week program (Youth, N = 8, Law Enforcement, N = 10). Participants engaged in a variety of relationship building activities and discussions designed to establish positive relationships between the participants. A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare pre- and post-test scores for each participant group. Results indicated youth participants experienced a significant positive shift in their attitudes towards law enforcement (t15 = -2.52, p = .040; d = 0.807). Law enforcement participants’ results revealed a minimal shift in their attitudes towards youth through the duration of the program (t19 = 1.08, p = .307). Limitations consisted of a small sample size and limited generalizability. Results are consistent with prior findings showing changes among youth but not among law officers. Youth attitudes may be more malleable, while law enforcement participants are older and may respond more slowly, thus may require a longer treatment or a more sensitive measure.

Included in

Psychology Commons