Development and Validation of the Critical Consciousness Scale (ICPSR 36564)

Principal Investigator(s): Diemer, Matthew A., University of Michigan


This study sought to develop and validate a measure of critical consciousness. The measure, referred to as the Critical Consciousness Scale (CCS), examines the capacity of oppressed or marginalized people to critically analyze their social and political conditions, endorsement of societal equality, and action to change perceived inequities. Critical reflection items were developed to gauge respondents' consciousness of racial, gendered, and socioeconomic inequalities in terms of occupational and educational opportunity. Survey questions assessed respondents' opinions on sociopolitical issues and the degree and frequency of participation in individual and/or collective action. Information was collected on topics such as the frequency that respondents participated in discussions regarding social or political issues and their opinions on statements such as whether certain racial or ethnic groups have fewer chances to get good jobs. Demographic variables include race, gender, age, class, and educational attainment of a respondent's mother and father.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


Diemer, Matthew A. Development and Validation of the Critical Consciousness Scale. ICPSR36564-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-09-29.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Education. Institute of Education Sciences (#R305A100094)
  • Michigan State University. Office of the Provost

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    political activism, racial attitudes, racial discrimination, research models, social activism, social attitudes, social inequality, youths

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2011

Date of Collection:   

  • 2011

Unit of Observation:    Individual

Universe:    Students age 13-19 who attend high school in large Midwestern cities.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Variables CCS9_R, CCS10_R, CCS11_R, CCS12_R, CCS13_R, CCS14_R, CCS15_R, CCS20_R, CCS24_R, CCS25_FLAG_R, and CCS32_FLAG_R were recoded in order to reverse code the value labels and data.

Due to an administrative error, data for variables CCS25_FLAG, CCS25_FLAG_R, CCS26_FLAG, CCS27_FLAG, CCS28_FLAG, CCS29_FLAG, CCS30_FLAG, CCS31_FLAG, CCS32_FLAG, and CCS32_FLAG_R was not collected for all participants. These items were ignored in the process of validating the Critical Consciousness Scale. Users should take caution when analyzing these variables given the incomplete data collection. Users interested in the validation of these questions are encouraged to reference Fostering marginalized youths' academic achievement and critical consciousness through a values-affirmation intervention by Luke Rapa.

The original 46-item questionnaire developed to validate the Critical Consciousness Scale included all Critical Consciousness Scale items found in the dataset. A series of analyses resulted in a pared-down 22-item questionnaire. Both questionnaires are included in the codebook for reference.


Sample:    Users are strongly encouraged to reference the documentation found in the codebook for detailed explanations concerning sampling strategies.

Mode of Data Collection:    self-enumerated questionnaire, on-site questionnaire

Presence of Common Scales:    Critical Consciousness Scale (CCS)

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2016-09-29

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