Examining Feminist and Critical Consciousness Conceptualizations of Women’s Subjective Well-Being

Sarah E. Conlin, Richard P. Douglass, Bonnie Moradi, Staci Ouch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Feminist and critical consciousness theories, that shaped the practice of feminist therapy, are unique in considering the impact of power and privilege on women’s well-being. We investigated tenets of these conceptualizations cross-sectionally by examining relations of critical consciousness, feminist collective action, personal empowerment, and subjective well-being among 247 women recruited via MTurk. We found that critical consciousness had a significant, positive direct link with collective action. Collective action, in turn, had significant, positive direct links with life satisfaction and positive affect. Importantly, critical consciousness via collective action was associated indirectly with greater satisfaction and positive affect. In contrast, critical consciousness was associated directly with lower satisfaction and positive affect. Personal empowerment was associated directly with greater well-being, but only collective action was a mechanism through which critical consciousness was associated with greater well-being. These findings are consistent with theory and support connecting the personal with the political in feminist therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-422
Number of pages32
JournalCounseling Psychologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 14 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • activism
  • critical consciousness
  • empowerment
  • feminist therapy
  • social justice


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