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Social Issues and Policy Review


Deployment of intersectionality frameworks in policy design and implementation is a way to ensure that the means and goals of interventions are congruent with target populations’ understanding of their circumstances, their desired outcomes, and their empowerment. In this paper, we examine the ways concepts from psychology have been used to inform interventions and policies, and we use an intersectional lens to suggest improvements to these interventions to be more inclusive in their impact. We review three social policy interventions that were developed based on social psychological research: (1) sexual assault prevention programs based on bystander interventions; (2) so-called “wise schooling” programs, intended to ameliorate gaps in academic achievement stemming from stereotype threat; and (3) programs aiming to foster pro-environmental behavior, specifically, recyling. Following Cole's (2009) recommendations for using intersectionality in research in psychology together with the guiding principles that define Intersectionality-Based Policy Analysis (Hankivsky et al., 2014), we interrogate how the psychological research that provides the foundation for these policies informs them at different points in the policy cycle and suggest alternatives designed to more equitably address these problems. Our analysis shows that these problems demand a multi-level analysis that recognizes intersecting identities.





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