Perceived Ownership in a Community Coalition


  • Charlotte Armbruster M.S., R.N.,,

  • Betty Gale D.N.Sc., R.N.,,

  • Jane Brady M.S., R.N.,,

  • Nancy Thompson M.S., R.N.,

  • Charlotte Armbruster is a Faculty Associate and Betty Gale is an Associate Professor at the Arizona State University College of Nursing, Tempe, Arizona. Jane Brady is a Research Coordinator, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Maricopa Integrated Health System, Phoenix, Arizona. Nancy Thompson is the Oncology Program Coordinator, W. O. Boswell Memorial Hospital, Sun City, Arizona.

Address correspondence to Charlotte Armbruster, Faculty Associate, Arizona State University, College of Nursing, Tempe, AZ 85287–2602


Coalitions are emerging as a force for change in many communities and offer the opportunity for broad community involvement in the planning and implementation of needed health promotion and health education services. Perceived ownership promotes greater participation by the community but efforts to systematically evaluate ownership are lacking. The aim of this study was to determine ownership of a local ElderCARE Coalition's activities and its health promotion program, Healthy WAY, as perceived by coalition members. Fifteen of the coalition members returned the questionnaire that included the Community Ownership Scale. As shown by mean scores, the agencies perceived as having the most influence or greatest perceived ownership were the university college of nursing and the community action programs. Coalition members represented a wide variety of roles and responsibilities as well as length of time in the coalition (1 month to 6 years). Responses to open-ended questions, analyzed by content analysis, supported the work of the coalition and identified the senior participants in the Healthy WAY program as being “enthusiastic” but also needing to be more “involved.” Process measures are important indicators of how close coalitions are staying to their grassroots constituency. Implications for public health nurses include participating as partners in community coalitions and assisting coalitions in determining their sense of ownership and the need for change.