Critical Consciousness and Intent to Persist Through College in DACA and U.S. Citizen Students: The Role of Immigration Status, Race, and Ethnicity

Germán A. Cadenas, Bianca Bernstein, Terence Tracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: We used the model of critical consciousness (CC; Freire, 1973) to examine college persistence in a sample of Hispanic Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) college students in contrast to Hispanic and non-Hispanic White U.S. citizens. To do this, we looked to social cognitive career theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) to clarify the development of CC and its association with college persistence in students facing marginalization due to immigration status and racial/ethnic identity. Method: The sample consisted of 368 undergraduate college students, including 89 Hispanic DACA recipients, 88 Hispanics with U.S. citizenship, and 191 non-Hispanic Whites with U.S. citizenship. Students completed scales on intent to persist in college, political self-efficacy, political outcome expectations, critical reflection, critical action, and supports and barriers for critical action. Results: The data were examined using multigroup structural equation modeling; goodness of fit indices suggested good model fit for all groups. Tests of structural invariance revealed that 7 relational paths were equal across student groups, while race/ethnicity and immigration status differentiated the strength of 7 paths. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that there are differences in how Hispanic DACA students experience CC in relation to support for their political advocacy and activism. Findings also highlight that political outcome expectations predicted higher intent to persist in college for all students, including Hispanic DACA students.



  • College persistence
  • Critical consciousness
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Hispanic immigrant students
  • Social cognitive career theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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