Linking social cohesion and gender to intrapersonal and interactional empowerment: Support and new implications for theory

Authors

  • N. Andrew Peterson,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Iowa College of Public Health and University of Iowa Prevention Research Center
    • Department of Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, 200 Hawkins Drive, E238 GH, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail: andrew-peterson@uiowa.edu
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  • John B. Lowe,

    1. University of Iowa College of Public Health and University of Iowa Prevention Research Center
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  • Mary L. Aquilino,

    1. University of Iowa College of Public Health and University of Iowa Prevention Research Center
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  • John E. Schneider

    1. University of Iowa Prevention Research Center, University of Iowa College of Public Health, and Iowa City VA Medical Center
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Abstract

Empowerment is a social-action process through which people gain greater control, efficacy, and social justice. One way to develop empowerment is through active, meaningful participation in community groups and activities. Social cohesion is an emerging construct that expands the notion of community participation to include elements such as shared emotional commitment and reciprocity. This study extended previous research by examining the role of gender in the relationship between social cohesion and the intrapersonal and interactional components of psychological empowerment among a randomly selected sample of rural residents (n = 408). Findings support previous studies on intrapersonal empowerment but refute research on interactional empowerment. Implications for empowerment theory and practice are discussed. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comm Psychol 33: 233–244, 2005.

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