04 SES 16 D, Positive Education for Disadvantaged Students around the Globe
Dalits, once referred to as “Untouchables” represent a historically disadvantaged community in India that has been subjected to oppression for several generations. The Government of India has a number of schemes to promote inclusivity in the society via education, employment, etc. Most of the programs aim at providing financial support or reservations in education and employment with very few programs attempting to nurture internal psychological strengths in this population. The present study examines the perception of historical losses by Dalit students and how this perception affects their psychological wellbeing. Further, the study attempts to examine the role of critical consciousness and self-efficacy in promoting resilience and wellbeing among Dalit students. This correlational study employed a sample of 200 young adults, both males and females, studying in undergraduate programs at various institutions in a mid-sized city in south India. The completed self-report measures of historical losses of Dalits, historical losses associated symptoms, psychological distress, alienation, critical consciousness, self-efficacy, resilience and psychological wellbeing. Perceived historical loss was positively correlated with historical loss symptoms. Historical loss symptoms were found to be significantly correlated with alienation among the participants. Alienation was positively correlated with psychological distress and negatively related to resilience, wellbeing and self-efficacy. Interestingly, alienation was positively related to critical reflection, i.e., perceived inequality, and significantly negatively related to critical action, i.e., socio-political participation. Further, a moderator analysis showed that self-efficacy moderated the relationship between psychological distress and alienation among Dalit students. Self-efficacy and sociopolitical participation can serve as protective factors among underprivileged young adults. Intervention programs focused on enhancing resilience can also serve as an effective tool to buffer alienation and ensure inclusivity among this target population. The findings of the study have implications for promoting resilience and wellbeing in this population by focusing on internal resources of these young adults.
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