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Traumatic Incidents and Experiences of Racism and Sexism: Examining Associations with Components of Critical Consciousness for System-Involved Girls of Color

NCJ Number
American Journal of Community Psychology Volume: 67 Issue: 1-2 Dated: 2021 Pages: 64-75
S. Singh; et al
Date Published
12 pages

This study examined traumatic incidents and experiences of racism and sexism as correlates of critical reflection and action among a sample of girls (N = 220; Mean age = 14.5 years; SD = 1.3 years).



Scholarship identifies critical consciousness as a key developmental asset in promoting the well-being of adolescents experiencing multiple socio-structural axes of oppression. Girls of color at acute risk for legal system involvement or re-involvement are absent from this literature. They are a critical population in which to examine this construct given their experiences of oppression and the myriad benefits of critical consciousness. Using path analysis and multigroup modeling, we examine direct associations between these three manifestations of structural oppression and critical consciousness and explore the interplay of traumatic incidents, and racism and sexism in girls’ critical consciousness development. Findings suggest that experiences of sexism and racism, uniquely and positively predict critical action, but not critical reflection. Surprisingly, girls’ experiences of traumatic incidents do not predict reflection or action. Finally, multigroup analyses show no evidence that these associations vary by the interplay of traumatic incidents, racism, and sexism. Implications for community psychology values and juvenile legal system practice and policy are discussed. (Publisher Abstract Provided)