Exploring Community Stress and Empowerment Among Stakeholders and Youth in an Urban Community

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment


Community-level stress, such as pervasive substance abuse and violence, can yield negative health and mental heath outcomes for youth from disadvantaged communities. Community empowerment is a process whereby community members work together to increase control in their community. This qualitative inquiry analyzed in-depth interviews with adult stakeholders (n = 17) as well as focus group interviews with token youth (n = 85) to explore perceptions of community stress and empowerment in one disadvantaged locale. Each of the 102 total participants helped interrogate the research questions: What does it mean to live in a stressed community? How might youth and adults perceive themselves capable of impacting a stressed community’s quality of life? Emergent themes, which include a nod to the utility of coalition building, are explored. Implications for policy, practice, and future research are also discussed.



Published Citation

Forenza, B., Lardier Jr, D. T., Reid, R. J., Garcia-Reid, P., & Bermea, A. (2019). Exploring community stress and empowerment among stakeholders and youth in an urban community. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 29(6), 705-721.