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

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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.



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