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Research in ILT Review 11: A Measure of Rap Music Engagement among First-Year College Students

Validation of the Individual and Community Empowerment Inventory: A Measure of Rap Music Engagement among First-Year College Students” by Bowman and Travis speaks to the emerging identity and community trends apparent in my literature review on music engagement. In a previous 2011 study, the authors developed a useful tool called the Individual and Community Empowerment (ICE) inventory. The ICE inventory originally consisted of three subscales: individual empowerment, community empowerment, and individual risk (Bowman & Travis, 2015, p. 99). There were two studies within the 2015 study. For the purposes of my literature review, I will focus on what the authors call “Study No. 1: Original Scale Validation,” (Bowman & Travis, 2015, p. 99). In this validation study, Bowman and Travis replicated the original ICE inventory study of 531 participants in order to replicate the reliability scores of the original sample and tool usage of 2011 (2015, p. 99).


In conducting a second study to test the validity and effectiveness of the ICE inventory, Bowman and Travis found, “the instrument’s utility were replicated, but results were divergent from original research on certain demographic trends with respect to gender, age, and ace/ethnicity (2015, p. 90). My study does not take into account demographics, but rather explores music engagement from a broader lens. From this lens, Bowman and Travis’s (2015) results demonstrated that rap music impacted individual empowerment (31.8) the most, followed by individual risk (16.6), and lastly by community empowerment (15.5) (p. 99). Rap seemed to have the biggest impact on individual empowerment.

Results offered valuable insights about individual empowerment and risky behavior. More than half the participants felt rap music helped them make it through tough times (Bowman & Travis, 2015, p. 104). Even if rap empowered a person, it did not prevent risky behavior such as doing drugs, committing crimes, and having sex. Results showed that rap music engagement can be simultaneously empowering and risky (Bowman & Travis, 2015, p. 104). Concluding that the ICE inventory opens up possibilities of empowerment and health, amidst risky behaviors.

Limitations included three items: limited participant pool, inability to measure behavioral outcomes, and unclear intent of musical engagement with rap. In my study on music engagement in a spiritual center, I can identify with a limited participant pool and unclear intent of musical engagement. These are good points to note in my literature review.


Travis, R., & Bowman, S. (2015). Validation of the Individual and Community Empowerment Inventory: A Measure of Rap Music Engagement among First-Year College Students. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 25(2), 90-108.

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