243437 Measuring changes in empowerment among low-income parents participating in a CBPR project

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Janine M. Jurkowski, PhD, MPH , Health Policy, Management, & Behavior, University at Albany School of Public Health, Rensselaer, NY
Kaigang Li, PhD , Prevention Research Branch, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD
Glenn Deane, PhD , Department of Sociology, University at Albany, Albany, NY
Hal Lawson, PhD , School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, Albany, NY
Kirsten Davison, PhD , Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Introduction: Communities for Healthy Living (CHL) used a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to understand and address childhood obesity among low-income children. CHL's Community Advisory Board (CAB), which consisted of predominantly Head Start parents, was actively involved in the research process and was the project's decision making body. Empowering participants to have increased control over their lives is a core principle of CBPR. This study examined changes in CAB member empowerment during their participation on the board. Methods: Eighteen CAB members participated in CHL for two years and completed a survey measuring individual and community empowerment at three time points. Individual and community empowerment sub-scales, from a previously validated scale were used to assess perceived control over decisions that affect the individuals' life (Individual Empowerment) and the individuals' perceived control over decisions that affect their community (Community Empowerment). Results: Significant increases in the CAB members' Individual Empowerment [F(2,16)=3.56, p=.053] and Community Empowerment [F(2,16)=12.39, p<.001] between the three times of measurement were observed. Pair wise comparisons indicated that Individual (Mean: 3.47 vs. 3.78, p<.05) and Community Empowerment (Mean: 3.19 vs. 3.74, p<.01) increased significantly between time 1 and 2 and between time 1 and 3; no significant changes were identified between time 2 and 3. Conclusions: The results suggest that through participation in CHL, CAB members experienced an increase in empowerment. CHL effectively engaged CAB members in a CBPR project to address childhood obesity, which led to increased empowerment, fulfilling one of the core principles of CBPR.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe a CBPR project that evaluated the impact of active participation of low income parents. Describe individual and community empowerment as a measurable outcome of participation in a CBPR study. Assess the results of an evaluation of individual and community empowerment. Discuss the benefits and pitfalls of using a particular validated measure of individual and community empowerment for measuring empowerment as an outcome of participation in a CBPR study.

Keywords: Community Health, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-PI on the NIH grant that produced this research. I conceptualized and wrote the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.