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Health Educ Behav. 2001 Dec;28(6):716-32.

The relationship between social cohesion and empowerment: support and new implications for theory.

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Human and Organizational Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, USA.


Empowerment theory represents an expansive view of individual and collective behavior that includes the active participation of individuals and groups in altering and shaping the socioenvironmental context. Critical to health educators are local interventions that yield participation of community members and empowerment for participants. The concept of social cohesion embraces participation but expands this behavioral emphasis to incorporate notions of trust, connectedness, and civic engagement. This study presents two data sets on the relationship of participation to empowerment. The first replicates and extends previous research by examining participation with interactional as well as intrapersonal empowerment. Second is the examination of how the quality of the participatory experience--the cohesive nature of participation--is related to interactional and intrapersonal empowerment. Findings support and extend previous findings, reliably cluster residents by the degree of connectedness in their participatory experiences, and reveal that social cohesion is related to intrapersonal empowerment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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