TitleCritical consciousness in late adolescence: Understanding if, how, and why youth act
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsTyler, CP, Olsen, SG, Geldhof, GJ, Bowers, EP
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Date Published07/2020

Through critical consciousness, adolescents can alter oppressive social and political systems and experience liberation (Watts, Diemer, & Voight, 2011). More research is needed to understand how adolescents experience this process so that programming can better support them. We analyzed semi-structured interviews (N = 50; Mage = 16.85; 56% female) and quantitative questionnaire data (N = 1578; Mage = 16.87; 51% female) to explore how adolescents engage in critical consciousness in their daily lives. Qualitatively, we identified what instigated adolescents' awareness of inequalities, how they responded to inequalities, and what informed their responses. Quantitative results indicated that discrimination was positively associated with action, but higher critical reflection did not mediate this association. Research and programming could better support adolescents' critical consciousness development by attending to the diverse ways that they conceptualize and respond to inequalities and by targeting personal and contextual factors that inform this process.

Short TitleJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology