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Towards a Model of Positive Youth Development Specific to Girls of Color: Perspectives on Development, Resilience, and Empowerment

Abstract

This paper presents a feminist theoretical model of adolescent development for girls of color, a model that can be used to critique and resist the dominant deficit-oriented perspectives about girls of color that appear in research and educational contexts. We integrate ecological, phenomenological, and critical race feminist perspectives on development and socialization and emphasize that girls’ emerging identities are complexly heterogeneous. Our model adapts the competencies of the existing positive youth development model (Lerner et al. in J Early Adolesc 25(1):10–16, 2005) by infusing them with a critical feminist lens that emphasizes critical consciousness, resistance, and resilience and allows us to specify the model to fit the experiences of and contexts in which girls of color develop. This paper includes a presentation of our conceptual model and uses qualitative data to examine how components of our model map on to the everyday experiences of Black and Latina adolescent girls and their development.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Independent schools, according to the National Association of Independent Schools, the accrediting body for over 1400 independent schools in the U.S., are “non-profit private schools that are self-determining in mission and program. They are governed by independent boards and are funded primarily through tuition, charitable contribution, and endowment income” [30].

  2. 2.

    In order to maintain confidentiality, all site names and participant names have been given pseudonyms.

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Clonan-Roy, K., Jacobs, C.E. & Nakkula, M.J. Towards a Model of Positive Youth Development Specific to Girls of Color: Perspectives on Development, Resilience, and Empowerment. Gend. Issues 33, 96–121 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12147-016-9156-7

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Keywords

  • Adolescent girls
  • Girls’ development
  • Positive youth development
  • Critical race feminism
  • Girls of color