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Am J Community Psychol. 2009 Jun;43(3-4):345-59. doi: 10.1007/s10464-009-9231-2.

Youth Action Research for Prevention: a multi-level intervention designed to increase efficacy and empowerment among urban youth.

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Institute for Community Research, 2 Hartford Square West, Ste. 100, Hartford, CT 06106, USA.


Youth Action Research for Prevention (YARP), a federally funded research and demonstration intervention, utilizes youth empowerment as the cornerstone of a multi-level intervention designed to reduce and/or delay onset of drug and sex risk, while increasing individual and collective efficacy and educational expectations. The intervention, located in Hartford Connecticut, served 114 African-Caribbean and Latino high school youth in a community education setting and a matched comparison group of 202 youth from 2001 to 2004. The strategy used in YARP begins with individuals, forges group identity and cohesion, trains youth as a group to use research to understand their community better (formative community ethnography), and then engages them in using the research for social action at multiple levels in community settings (policy, school-based, parental etc.) Engagement in community activism has, in turn, an effect on individual and collective efficacy and individual behavioral change. This approach is unique insofar as it differs from multilevel interventions that create approaches to attack multiple levels simultaneously. We describe the YARP intervention and employ qualitative and quantitative data from the quasi-experimental evaluation study design to assess the way in which the YARP approach empowered individual youth and groups of youth (youth networks) to engage in social action in their schools, communities and at the policy level, which in turn affected their attitudes and behaviors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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