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Am J Community Psychol. 2009 Jun;43(3-4):232-40. doi: 10.1007/s10464-009-9238-8.

Introduction to multi-level community based culturally situated interventions.


This introduction to a special issue of the American Journal of Community Psychiatry is the result of a symposium at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, 2006, that brought together anthropologists and psychologists involved in community based collaborative intervention studies to examine critically the assumptions, processes and results of their multilevel interventions in local communities with local partners. The papers were an effort to examine context by offering a theoretical framework for the concept of "level" in intervention science, and advocating for "multi-level" approaches to social/behavioral change. They presented examples of ways in which interventions targeted social "levels" either simultaneously or sequentially by working together with communities across levels, and drawing on and co-constructing elements of local culture as components of the intervention. The papers raised a number of important issues, for example: (1) How are levels defined and how should collaborators be chosen; (2) does it matter at which level multilevel interventions begin; (3) do multilevel interventions have a greater effect on desired outcomes than level-specific interventions; (4) are multilevel interventions more sustainable; (5) are multilevel interventions cost effective to run, and evaluate; (6) how can theories of intervention be generated and adapted to each level of a multilevel intervention; (7) how should intervention activities at each level coordinate to facilitate community resident or target population empowerment? Many of these questions were only partially addressed in the papers presented at that time, and are more fully addressed in the theoretical papers, case studies and approach to evaluation included in this collection.

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