Phan, Olivia Minh. “The Psychological Armor of Urban Adolescents”, Boston College, 2010. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/1410.
Deficit-oriented research has ignored the strengths of urban adolescents of color, perpetuating interpretations that they are deviant and pathological (Spencer et al., 2006). Generally unacknowledged by problem-focused perspectives is how youths of color grapple with vulnerability to negative socialization messages, prejudice and discrimination, thus they possess competencies that warrant attention (Blustein et al., 2010; Franklin, 2004; Nicolas et al., 2008; Spencer et al., 2006). The purpose of this study is to examine psychosocial influences that promote career adaptability in a sample of 84 urban adolescents of color. Exploratory questions about the contributions of critical consciousness and racial identity to career outcome expectations and subjective well-being were investigated. The results of the regression analyses offer support for considering selected racial identity schemas (Helms, 1995b) as integral parts of counseling interventions to promote career adaptability. Internalization was significantly associated with both outcome variables. Additionally, decreased levels of Dissonance and Immersion-Resistance were found to be related to higher levels of satisfaction with school and work. Implications for programming and policy include recognizing and strengthening abilities of high school students of color to value their racial identity in the vocational process. These findings enhance the understanding of urban adolescents' psychological armor against social injustice and add to the career development literature by counteracting the negative portrayal of this group.