Measuring College Students' Leadership Engagement in Advocacy

Germán A. Cadenas, Bianca L. Bernstein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Scopus citations


    Evidence shows that college attainment gaps continue to persist in U.S. higher education across historically marginalized communities. Critical consciousness theory posits an antidotal framework for understanding marginalized students' experiences and educational outcomes. Researchers have identified critical reflection and action among core constructs of critical consciousness, and they have articulated the need for more scholarship seeking to understand the action dimension. Responding to this gap with curiosity about the role that leadership plays in sociopolitical action, we conducted 2 studies in the development of an instrument measuring college students' leadership engagement in advocacy. In Study 1, we developed a 10-item measure and tested its initial reliability and validity through exploratory factor analysis with 203 college students. In Study 2, we provided further validity evidence with a different, more diverse sample of 164 students using confirmatory factor analysis. Results suggest that the college students' leadership engagement in advocacy measure has a 1-dimensional structure and high internal reliability. We also provide evidence of convergent and discriminant validity in relation to measures of academic self-efficacy and advocacy outcome expectations. We discuss the utility of this measure for critical consciousness research and higher education practice aiming to close attainment gaps.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalJournal of Diversity in Higher Education
    StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


    • Advocacy
    • College students
    • Critical consciousness
    • Leadership
    • Sociopolitical action

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


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