Exploring community stress and empowerment among stakeholders and youth in an urban community

Brad Forenza, David T. Lardier, Robert J. Reid, Pauline Garcia-Reid, Autumn Bermea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-721
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment
Issue number6
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2019


  • Community empowerment
  • coalition building
  • community stress
  • primary prevention
  • substance abuse


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