Critical community psychology: The perceptions of UK undergraduate psychology students


Psychology undergraduates represent the future workforce of the applied psychology professions. As such, this study explores UK psychology undergraduates’ views of critical community psychology and its relevance to applied psychology related to well-being and mental health as they understand it. In this mixed methods study, 239 participants rated 43 statements about critical community psychology. Participants also provided their qualitative views on: i. the statements, ii. on critical community psychology generally, and iii. on its relationship to well-being and mental health. Quantitatively, each of the four factors (i. Reflective practice, ii. Acknowledging and understanding, iii. Core socio-political ideas, and iv. Radical socio-political ideas), were significantly and positively related to each other. On average, all four factors were seen as relevant to the future of applied psychology related to well-being and mental health by participants. However, significant differences were found between the factors, some with medium and large effect sizes. Qualitatively, many provided a general positive endorsement of the relevance of critical community psychology and of broader systemic factors influencing applied work. Participants asked for more information on this area to be provided both within their degree and for the general public. Other comments suggested both: applied work should include both micro and macro elements, and that applied work should remain focused on the individual. Finally, a smaller number of comments suggested that the statements were not relevant to: i. individual mental health, ii. to psychology, and even iii. not relevant as ideas. The discussion brings together the quantitative and qualitative data relating it back to the literature. It highlights the wider challenges of bringing critical community psychology to bear on applied psychology work in the UK, beyond reflective practice.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v9i2p125

Keywords: community psychology; critical community psychology; undergraduates; mixed methods; mental health and well-being


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