Adolescent Research Review

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 369–381 | Cite as

Youth Anti-Racist Engagement: Conceptualization, Development, and Validation of an Anti-Racism Action Scale

  • Adriana AldanaEmail author
  • Josefina Bañales
  • Katie Richards-Schuster
Quantitative Review


Scholarship on youth engagement indicates that adolescents address social issues of public concern, but it is not clear how youth challenge racism. This gap in the literature stems from indirect conceptualizations and a lack of quantitative measurement of adolescents’ acts to oppose racism. Correspondingly, this study presents the validation of a measure of youth anti-racism action. Study 1 describes the youth participatory approach used in the development of the Anti-Racism Action Scale and presents the results from an exploratory factor analysis that examined the measure’s initial factor structure and reliability. The factor structure of the 22-item measure was explored with a diverse sample of adolescents (Mage = 16.00, SD = 1.18; 61.7% girls, Black/African American [29.3%], Asian/South Asian [21.1%], White/European American [24.4%], Arab/Middle-Eastern [17.5%], Latino/Hispanic [4.5%], and Multiracial [3.3%]) enrolled in a race dialogue program (n = 249). The results indicated the measure consisted of three subscales: Interpersonal Action, Communal Action, and Political Change Action. In Study 2, a confirmatory factor analysis was conducted with an independent, nationally representative sample of youth (n = 384) from diverse backgrounds (Mage = 17.00, SD = 1.29, 51.0% girls, White/European American [26.1%], Black/African American [25.6%], Latino/Hispanic [19.3%], Asian/Pacific Islander [13.6%], Multiracial [9.9%], Native American [5.2%] and “other” [0.3%]). The results confirmed a three-factor model that resulted in a 16-item measure. Furthermore, tests of convergent validity tests were pursued between the Anti-Racism Action Scale and the Critical Consciousness Scale, a widely used measure of youths’ awareness of the structural causes of various forms of oppression, sense of sociopolitical agency, and social action. This study suggests that youth engagement in anti-racism is multidimensional and that notion of adolescent social action are more diverse than represented in the literature.


Sociopolitical development Social action Critical consciousness Anti-racism Scale development 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Matthew A. Diemer for his thoughtful feedback on an early draft of the manuscript.

Authors’ Contributions

AA conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript; JB participated in the study design, conducted the statistical analysis, interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript; KRS lead the measurement development, participated in the study design, and provided feedback on manuscript drafts. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors report none.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkCalifornia State University Dominguez HillCarsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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