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Full-Text Articles in Political Science
Distinguishing Beliefs About Social Inequality: Associations Among Dimensions Of Critical Consciousness, Lauren M. Alvis
Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports
Critical consciousness researchers posit that critical reflection, which refers to a critical awareness of structural inequalities between socially constructed groups and external political efficacy beliefs (i.e., perceptions of government responsiveness) are important precursors to effective political action (Diemer et al., 2016; Watts, Diemer, & Voight, 2011). However, little is known about emerging adults’ views of social inequality and political change regarding specific marginalized groups. There are different forms of social inequality and the extent to which individuals experience these inequities is partially determined by multiple sociodemographic characteristics including race/ethnicity, sex, sexual-orientation, and gender identity (Hurst et al., 2016). Identifying potential heterogeneity in emerging adults’ perceptions of these different group-based inequalities may elucidate sociocognitive factors that undergird different forms of active citizenship. Thus, the current study had three primary goals: 1) test and validate the factor structure of a new multidimensional measure of critical reflection and external political efficacy beliefs and examine the extent to which these beliefs vary across different types of group-based inequalities, 2) investigate how emerging adults’ own identity characteristics (race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation) intersect with their group-specific critical reflection and external political efficacy beliefs, 3) investigate how group-specific critical reflection and external political efficacy beliefs interact to differentially predict specific forms of political action. To address these goals, 872 college students (Mage=20.05, SD=1.20; 74% female) were recruited from two Pacific Coastal universities and one Mid-Atlantic university. Participants were 57% White, 18% Asian, 14% Latinx/Hispanic, and 7% Black/African American. Using self-report questionnaires, emerging adults reported on their perceptions of social inequalities that target four marginalized groups (racial/ethnic minorities, women, LGB, transgender) and their beliefs about government responsiveness ...