Development of Youth Advocacy and Sociopolitical Efficacy as Dimensions of Critical Consciousness Within Gender-Sexuality Alliances

V. Paul Poteat, Erin B. Godfrey, Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Jerel P. Calzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Attention to youth advocacy and sociopolitical efficacy has been evident in developmental research on critical consciousness, yet this literature has given little attention to sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth or issues, or to the interplay between these dimensions of critical consciousness over time. We addressed these limitations within the context of gender-sexuality alliances (GSAs). Among 366 youth members (Mage = 15.53 years) in 38 GSAs across Massachusetts who completed surveys at the beginning and end of the school year, multilevel models indicated that youth who reported more active engagement in GSAs at the beginning of the school year reported greater advocacy throughout the year and greater sociopolitical efficacy at the year's end (adjusting for baseline advocacy and efficacy). There was a significant indirect association between greater GSA engagement and greater sociopolitical efficacy at the year's end through reported advocacy done over the school year. Furthermore, group-level contextual effects indicated that youth in GSAs with a more youth-led orientation reported doing less advocacy but reported greater sociopolitical efficacy at the year's end than youth in GSAs with less of a youth-led orientation. Finally, advocacy and sociopolitical efficacy were reciprocally associated with one another: Greater initial efficacy was associated with greater advocacy over the school year, and advocacy was associated with greater efficacy at the year's end. These findings extend the critical consciousness literature and carry implications for how GSAs and similar groups could support SGM youth and their allies in resisting oppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopmental psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Advocacy
  • Critical consciousness
  • Extracurricular groups
  • LGBT youth
  • Sociopolitical efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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