Supporting Critical Consciousness: Links between Parental/Teacher Support and Youth Critical Action – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Supporting Critical Consciousness: Links between Parental/Teacher Support and Youth Critical Action

Kesha Patel


Pronouns: She/Her

Research Mentor(s): Andres Pinedo, Graduate Student
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 2 (11am – 11:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 9
Presenter: 4

Event Link


Despite burgeoning research on critical consciousness, little is known about the factors that contribute to critical action – one of its three components (Diemer et al., 2020). Critical consciousness consists of critical reflection (the ability to question the systems and structures that generate social injustices), critical motivation (the desire and commitment to address social injustices), and critical action (taking measures to create change, whether individually or collectively, in order to address perceived injustices) (Diemer et al., 2016). Since little attention has been paid to critical action, and given its links to desired developmental outcomes (Diemer et al., 2020), this study takes a more in-depth look into critical action and how adult support within youth organizing groups supports engagement in critical action. Data for this study come from a sample of adolescents, specifically Black, Latinx, and other youth of color from low socioeconomic backgrounds. The sample is also geographically diverse, with participants coming from states like New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. Participants completed pen and paper surveys with a series of questions about their critical consciousness, experiences in youth organizing, and other developmental competencies. We hypothesize that a positive correlation exists between parental/teacher support and critical action because students are able to see the potential they hold with the help of mentors in the learning environment and at home. Findings highlight the significance for learning spaces such as universities and homes to support critical pedagogy in order to encourage youth to challenge and take action against perceived injustices in their community. With support from adults, youth is given the opportunity to engage in environments surrounded by meaningful discourse about social injustices, thus fostering critical action.

Authors: Kesha Patel, Andres Pinedo, Matthew Diemer
Research Method: Survey Research

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