Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 215-227

First online:

Measuring empowerment in client-run self-help agencies

  • Steven P. SegalAffiliated withCenter for Self-Help Research
  • , Carol SilvermanAffiliated withCenter for Self-Help Research
  • , Tanya TemkinAffiliated withCenter for Self-Help Research

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“Empowerment” connotes a process of gaining control over one's life and influencing the organizational and societal structures in which one lives. This study defines and validates three measures: the Personal Empowerment Scale, the Organizational Empowerment Scale, and the Extra-Organizational Empowerment Scale.

Measurement efforts are based on observational work, baseline interviews (N=310), and six month follow-ups (N=241) in four client-run self-help agencies (SHAs) for persons with severe mental disabilities. All three study scales demonstrated strong internal consistency and stability. They were sensitive to user changes over time and have construct validity.