Intersectionality and research in psychology

Am Psychol. 2009 Apr;64(3):170-80. doi: 10.1037/a0014564.


Feminist and critical race theories offer the concept of intersectionality to describe analytic approaches that simultaneously consider the meaning and consequences of multiple categories of identity, difference, and disadvantage. To understand how these categories depend on one another for meaning and are jointly associated with outcomes, reconceptualization of the meaning and significance of the categories is necessary. To accomplish this, the author presents 3 questions for psychologists to ask: Who is included within this category? What role does inequality play? Where are there similarities? The 1st question involves attending to diversity within social categories. The 2nd conceptualizes social categories as connoting hierarchies of privilege and power that structure social and material life. The 3rd looks for commonalities across categories commonly viewed as deeply different. The author concludes with a discussion of the implications and value of these 3 questions for each stage of the research process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Continental Population Groups / psychology*
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology
  • Feminism*
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Psychology / methods*
  • Research Design*
  • Social Class*
  • Social Environment
  • Social Identification
  • United States