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Critical Consciousness, Developmental Competencies, and School Engagement

Does participation in youth organizing support young people marginalized by systemic inequalities in building crucial developmental competencies and critical consciousness? Do the developmental competencies and critical consciousness fostered by youth organization participation support stronger school engagement?

We hypothesize that youth organizing provides a rich context for young people marginalized by systemic racism and other inequities to build developmental competencies and critical consciousness.

In partnership with established youth organizing groups, we are recruiting multiple cohorts of youth organization participants to participate in pre- and post-test surveys and repeated focus groups and observations, as well as provide access to administrative measures of school engagement.

We hope to understand the relationships between youth organization participation, critical consciousness, developmental competencies and school engagement through longitudinal qualitative analysis and structural equation modeling in order to add rigorous, longitudinal evidence of the contributions of youth organizing to young people’s development.

In a related research project, we study whether and how youth leadership councils, a type of youth-adult partnership, foster developmental competencies and critical consciousness among marginalized youth. This mixed-methods project is embedded within New York City high schools.

CID Team Members:

Matthew Diemer

External Collaborators:

David Kirkland
Sara McAlister

Research Areas:


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