Skip to main content

The Role of Empowerment in Youth Development: A Study of Sociopolitical Control as Mediator of Ecological Systems’ Influence on Developmental Outcomes

Abstract

Empowerment has become an influential concept and theoretical framework for social policy and practice. Still, relatively little is known about the roles that empowerment plays in the ecology of human development, particularly among young people. This article reports results of a study of psychological empowerment among young people, using data from 629 high school students (65.8% female; 96.5% non-white). Using a path analysis, we examined the role of perceived sociopolitical control—an indicator of the intrapersonal component of psychological empowerment—as a mediator between ecological support systems and developmental outcomes. Findings confirmed that social support in family, peer, and school settings, and family cohesion positively predict self-esteem and perceived school importance, which, in turn, have protective effects on psychological symptoms, violent behaviors and substance use. Sociopolitical control was found to mediate the relationships between ecological supports and risk factors and developmental outcomes, leading to the conclusion that perceived efficacy in the sociopolitical domain, and youth empowerment, more generally, should be considered as core elements of the ecology of human development. Policy and practice aimed at promoting positive developmental outcomes and preventing risk behaviors should take their relationship to sociopolitical control into account.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Achenbach, T. M., & Edelbrock, C. (1983). Manual for the child behavior checklist and revised child behavior profile. Burlington, VT: Queen City Printers.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Altman, D. G., & Feighery, E. C. (2004). Future directions for youth empowerment: Commentary on application of youth empowerment theory to tobacco control. Health Education & Behavior, 31(5), 641–647. doi:10.1177/1090198104268683.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Aneshensel, C. S., & Sucoff, C. A. (1996). The neighborhood context of adolescent mental health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 37(4), 293–310.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Arbuckle, J. L. (2007). Amos 16.0 user’s guide. Spring House, PA: Amos Development Corporation.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Aronowitz, S. (2011). One, two, many Madisons: The war on public sector workers. New Labor Forum, 20(2), 15–21. doi:10.4179/NLF.202.0000004.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bandura, A. (1982). Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. American Psychologist, 37(2), 122–147. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.37.2.122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Banyard, V. L., & LaPlant, L. E. (2002). Exploring links between childhood maltreatment and empowerment. Journal of Community Psychology, 30(6), 687–707. doi:10.1002/jcop.10026.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Bayer, J. K., Sanson, A. V., & Hemphill, S. A. (2006). Parent influences on early childhood internalizing difficulties. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 542–559. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2006.08.002.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Benson, P. L., Scales, P. C., Hamilton, S. F., & Sesma, A., Jr. (2006). Positive youth development: Theory, research, and applications. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology, vol. 1. Theoretical models of human development (6th ed., pp. 894–941). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bond, L., Butler, H., Thomas, L., Carlin, J., Glover, S., Bowes, G., et al. (2007). Social and school connectedness in early secondary school as predictors of late teenage substance use, mental health, and academic outcomes. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 40(4), 357.e9–357.e918. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.10.013.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 32(7), 513–531. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.32.7.513.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1992). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. Sociological Methods & Research, 21(2), 230–258. doi:10.1177/0049124192021002005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Bryant, A. L., Schulenberg, J. E., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Johnston, L. D. (2003). How academic achievement, attitudes, and behaviors relate to the course of substance use during adolescence: A 6-year, multiwave national longitudinal study. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13(3), 361–397. doi:10.1111/1532-7795.1303005.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Butler, R. J., & Gasson, S. L. (2005). Self esteem/self concept scales for children and adolescents: A review. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 10(4), 190–201. doi:10.1111/j.1475-3588.2005.00368.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Camino, L., & Zeldin, S. (2002). From periphery to center: Pathways for youth civic engagement in the day-to-day life of communities. Applied Developmental Science, 6(4), 213–220. doi:10.1207/S1532480XADS0604_8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Cammarota, J. (2007). A social justice approach to achievement: Guiding Latina/o students toward educational attainment with a challenging, socially relevant curriculum. Equity & Excellence in Education, 40(1), 87–96. doi:10.1080/10665680601015153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Cargo, M., Grams, G. D., Ottoson, J. M., Ward, P., & Green, L. W. (2003). Empowerment as fostering positive youth development and citizenship. American Journal of Health Behavior, 27(Supplement 1), 66–79.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Catalano, R. F., Hawkins, J. D., Berglund, M. L., Pollard, J. A., & Arthur, M. W. (2002). Prevention science and positive youth development: Competitive or cooperative frameworks? Journal of Adolescent Health, 31(6), 230–239. doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(02)00496-2.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2002). Surveillance summaries. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 51(SS-4). http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/ss/ss5104.pdf.

  20. Chavous, T. M., Rivas-Drake, D., Smalls, C., Griffin, T., & Cogburn, C. (2008). Gender matters, too: The influences of school racial discrimination and racial identity on academic engagement outcomes among African American adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 44(3), 637–654. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.44.3.637.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Chinman, M. J., & Linney, J. A. (1998). Toward a model of adolescent empowerment: Theoretical and empirical evidence. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 18(4), 393–413. doi:10.1023/A:1022691808354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Christens, B. D. (2011). Psychological empowerment. In K. Dowding (Ed.), Encyclopedia of power (pp. 539–540). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Christens, B. D., & Dolan, T. (2011). Interweaving youth development, community development, and social change through youth organizing. Youth & Society, 43(2), 528–548. doi:10.1177/0044118X10383647.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Christens, B. D., Peterson, N. A., & Speer, P. W. (2011a). Community participation and psychological empowerment: Testing reciprocal causality using a cross-lagged panel design and latent constructs. Health Education & Behavior, 38(4), 339–347. doi:10.1177/1090198110372880.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Christens, B. D., Speer, P. W., & Peterson, N. A. (2011b). Social class as moderator of the relationship between (dis)empowering processes and psychological empowerment. Journal of Community Psychology, 39(2), 170–182. doi:10.1002/jcop.20425.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Christens, B. D., & Zeldin, S. (in press). Community engagement. In R. J. R. Levesque (Ed.), Encyclopedia of adolescence. New York: Springer.

  27. Chung, I. J., Hill, K. G., Hawkins, J. D., Gilchrist, L. D., & Nagin, D. S. (2002). Childhood predictors of offense trajectories. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 39(1), 60. doi:10.1177/002242780203900103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Damon, W. (2004). What is positive youth development? The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 591(1), 13–24. doi:10.1177/0002716203260092.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Diemer, M. A., & Blustein, D. L. (2006). Critical consciousness and career development among urban youth. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68(2), 220–232. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2005.07.001.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. DuBois, D. L., & Silverthorn, N. (2005). Natural mentoring relationships and adolescent health: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health, 95(3), 518–524. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2003.031476.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Dumont, M., & Provost, M. A. (1999). Resilience in adolescents: Protective role of social support, coping strategies, self-esteem, and social activities on experience of stress and depression. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 28(3), 343–363. doi:10.1023/A:1021637011732.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Eccles, J. S., & Barber, B. L. (1999). Student council, volunteering, basketball, or marching band: What kind of extracurricular involvement matters? Journal of Adolescent Research, 14(1), 10–43. doi:10.1177/0743558499141003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Echeverría, S., Diez-Roux, A. V., Shea, S., Borrell, L. N., & Jackson, S. (2008). Associations of neighborhood problems and neighborhood social cohesion with mental health and health behaviors: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Health & Place, 14(4), 853–865. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.01.004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Ellickson, P., Saner, H., & McGuigan, K. A. (1997). Profiles of violent youth: Substance use and other concurrent problems. American Journal of Public Health, 87(6), 985–991. doi:10.2105/AJPH.87.6.985.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Fergus, S., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2005). Adolescent resilience: A framework for understanding healthy development in the face of risk. Annual Review of Public Health, 26, 399–419. doi:10.1146/annurev.publhealth.26.021304.144357.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Fergusson, D. M., Boden, J. M., & Horwood, J. (2009). Tests of causal links between alcohol abuse or dependence and major depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(3), 260–266.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Fraser, M. W., Kirby, L. D., & Smokowski, P. R. (2004). Risk and resilience in childhood. In M. W. Fraser (Ed.), Risk and resilience in childhood: An ecological perspective (2nd ed., pp. 13–66). Washington, DC: NASW.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Fredericks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2008). Participation in extracurricular activities in the middle school years: Are there developmental benefits for African American and European American youth? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(9), 1029–1043. doi:10.1007/s10964-008-9309-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Garcia-Ramirez, M., Martinez, M. F., Balcazar, F. E., Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Albar, M., Domínguez, E., et al. (2005). Psychosocial empowerment and social support factors associated with the employment status of immigrant welfare recipients. Journal of Community Psychology, 33(6), 673–690. doi:10.1002/jcop.20072.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Garcia-Reid, P., Reid, R. J., & Peterson, N. A. (2005). School engagement among Latino youth in an urban middle school context: Valuing the role of social support. Education and Urban Society, 37(3), 257–275. doi:10.1177/0013124505275534.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Ginwright, S., & James, T. (2002). From assets to agents of change: Social justice, organizing, and youth development. New Directions for Youth Development, 96(Winter), 27–46. doi:10.1002/yd.25.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Granger, R. C. (2002). Creating the conditions linked to positive youth development. New Directions for Youth Development, 2002(95), 149–164. doi:10.1002/yd.20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Hanafi, S. (2011). Lessons of the jasmine revolution. Al Jazeera English, January 23. Retrieved from: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/201111985641326468.html.

  44. Holden, D. J., Crankshaw, E., Nimsch, C., Hinnant, L. W., & Hund, L. (2004). Quantifying the impact of participation in local tobacco control groups on the psychological empowerment of involved youth. Health Education & Behavior, 31(5), 615–628. doi:10.1177/1090198104268678.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Holden, D. J., Evans, W. D., Hinnant, L. W., & Messeri, P. (2005). Modeling psychological empowerment among youth involved in local tobacco control efforts. Health Education & Behavior, 32(2), 264–278. doi:10.1177/1090198104272336.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Howard, K. A., Budge, S. L., & McKay, K. M. (2010). Youth exposed to violence: The role of protective factors. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(1), 63–79. doi:10.1002/jcop.20352.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Hughey, J., Peterson, N. A., Lowe, J. B., & Oprescu, F. (2008). Empowerment and sense of community: Clarifying their relationship in community organizations. Health Education & Behavior, 35(5), 651–663. doi:10.1177/1090198106294896.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Hurd, N. M., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2010). Natural mentoring relationships among adolescent mothers: A study of resilience. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20(3), 789–809. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00660.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Huston, A. C., & Bentley, A. C. (2010). Human development in societal context. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 411–437. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100442.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Israel, B. A., Checkoway, B., Schulz, A., & Zimmerman, M. (1994). Health education and community empowerment: Conceptualizing and measuring perceptions of individual, organizational, and community control. Health Education Quarterly, 21(2), 149–170. doi:10.1177/109019819402100203.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Itzhaky, H., & York, A. S. (2000). Sociopolitical control and empowerment: An extended replication. Journal of Community Psychology, 28(4), 407–415. doi:10.1002/1520-6629(200007)28:4<407:AID-JCOP3>3.0.CO;2-R.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Itzhaky, H., & York, A. S. (2003). Leadership competence and political control: The influential factors. Journal of Community Psychology, 31(4), 371–381. doi:10.1002/jcop.10054.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Kenny, D. A., Kashy, D. A., & Bolger, N. (1998). Data analysis in social psychology. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (4th ed., pp. 233–265). New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Khalidi, R. (2011). The Arab spring. The Nation, March 21 edition. Retrieved from: http://www.thenation.com/article/158991/arab-spring.

  55. Kieffer, C. H. (1984). Citizen empowerment: A developmental perspective. In J. Rappaport, C. Swift, & R. Hess (Eds.), Studies in empowerment: Steps toward understanding and action (pp. 9–36). New York: The Haworth Press.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Kim, S., Crutchfield, C., Williams, C., & Hepler, N. (1998). Toward a new paradigm in substance abuse and other problem behavior prevention for youth: Youth development and empowerment approach. Journal of Drug Education, 28(1), 1–17.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Kinsman, J. (2011). Democracy rising: Tunisia and Egypt, when idealists got it right. Policy Options, 2011(April), 37–43.

  58. Kirshner, B. (2009). Power in numbers: Youth organizing as a context for exploring civic identity. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 19(3), 414–440. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2009.00601.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Kohfeldt, D., Chhun, L., Grace, S., & Langhout, R. D. (2011). Youth empowerment in context: Exploring tensions in school-based yPAR. American Journal of Community Psychology, 47(1–2), 28–45. doi:10.1007/s10464-010-9376-z.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Larson, R. W. (2000). Toward a psychology of positive youth development. American Psychologist, 55(1), 170–183. doi:10.1037//0003-066X.55.1.170.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Larson, R. W. (2011). Positive development in a disorderly world. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(2), 317–334. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00707.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Lerner, R. M., Dowling, E. M., & Anderson, P. M. (2003). Positive youth development: Thriving as the basis of personhood and civil society. Applied Developmental Science, 7(3), 172–180. doi:10.1207/S1532480XADS0703_8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Levenson, H. (1974). Activism and powerful others: Distinctions within the concept of internal–external control. Journal of Personality Assessment, 38(4), 377–383. doi:10.1080/00223891.1974.10119988.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D., & Becker, B. (2000). The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development, 71(3), 543–562. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00164.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Ma, L., Phelps, E., Lerner, J. V., & Lerner, R. M. (2009). The development of academic competence among adolescents who bully and who are bullied. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(5), 628–644. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2009.07.006.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., Hoffman, J. M., West, S. G., & Sheets, V. (2002). A comparison of methods to test mediation and other intervening variable effects. Psychological Methods, 7(1), 83–104. doi:10.1037/1082-989X.7.1.83.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56(3), 227–238. doi:10.1037//0003-066X.56.3.227.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Masten, A. S., & Cicchetti, D. (2010). Developmental cascades. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 491–495. doi:10.1017/S0954579410000222.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Moos, R. (1974). Family environment scale preliminary manual. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Nichols, J. (2011). The spirit of Wisconsin. The Nation, March 21 edition. Retrieved from: http://www.thenation.com/article/158990/spirit-wisconsin.

  71. Ozer, E. J., & Schotland, M. (2011). Psychological empowerment among urban youth: Measure development and relationship to psychosocial functioning. Health Education & Behavior. Published online ahead of print as doi:10.1177/1090198110373734.

  72. Paschall, M. J., & Hubbard, M. L. (1998). Effects of neighborhood and family stressors on African American male adolescents’ self-worth and propensity for violent behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(5), 825–831. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.66.5.825.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Peterson, N. A., Lowe, J. B., Hughey, J., Reid, R. J., Zimmerman, M. A., & Speer, P. W. (2006). Measuring the intrapersonal component of psychological empowerment: Confirmatory factor analysis of the sociopolitical control scale. American Journal of Community Psychology, 38(3–4), 287–297. doi:10.1007/s10464-006-9070-3.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Peterson, N. A., Peterson, C. H., Agre, L. A., Christens, B. D., & Morton, C. M. (2011). Measuring youth empowerment: Validation of a sociopolitical control scale for youth in an urban community context. Journal of Community Psychology, 39(5), 592–605. doi:10.1002/jcop.20456.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Peterson, N. A., & Reid, R. J. (2003). Paths to psychological empowerment in an urban community: Sense of community and citizen participation in substance abuse prevention activities. Journal of Community Psychology, 31(1), 25–38. doi:10.1002/jcop.10034.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Prelow, H. M., Weaver, S. R., & Swenson, R. R. (2006). Competence, self-esteem, and coping efficacy as mediators of ecological risk and depressive symptoms in urban African American and European American youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35(4), 506–516. doi:10.1007/s10964-006-9068-z.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Prilleltensky, I. (2008). The role of power in wellness, oppression, and liberation: The promise of psychopolitical validity. Journal of Community Psychology, 36(2), 116–136. doi:10.1002/jcop.20225.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Prilleltensky, I. (2010). Child wellness and social inclusion: Values for action. American Journal of Community Psychology, 46(1–2), 238–249. doi:10.1007/s10464-010-9318-9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  79. Rappaport, J. (1981). In praise of paradox: A social policy of empowerment over prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 9(1), 1–25. doi:10.1007/BF00919275.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  80. Rappaport, J. (1987). Terms of empowerment/exemplars of prevention: Toward a theory for community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15(2), 121–148. doi:10.1007/BF00919275.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  81. Reid, R. J., Garcia-Reid, P., Klein, E., & McDougall, A. (2008). Violence-related behaviors among Dominican adolescents: Examining the influence of alcohol and marijuana use. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 7(4), 404–427. doi:10.1080/15332640802508028.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Rhodes, J. E., Reddy, R., & Grossman, J. B. (2005). The protective influence of mentoring on adolescents’ substance use: Direct and indirect pathways. Applied Developmental Science, 9(1), 31–47. doi:10.1207/s1532480xads0901_4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  83. Rivera, F. I., Guarnaccia, P. J., Mulvaney-Day, N., Lin, J. Y., Torres, M., & Alegría, M. (2008). Family cohesion and its relationship to psychological distress among Latino groups. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 30(3), 357–378. doi:10.1177/0739986308318713.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Rogers, J., Morrell, E., & Enyedy, N. (2007). Studying the struggle: Contexts for learning and identity development for urban youth. American Behavioral Scientist, 51(3), 419–443. doi:10.1177/0002764207306069.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  85. Rosenfeld, L. B., Richman, J. M., & Bowen, G. L. (2000). Social support networks and school outcomes: The centrality of the teacher. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 17(3), 205–226. doi:10.1023/A:1007535930286.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  86. Russell, S. T., Muraco, A., Subramaniam, A., & Laub, C. (2009). Youth empowerment and high school gay-straight alliances. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(7), 891–903. doi:10.1007/s10964-008-9382-8.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  87. Sampson, R. J. (2004). Networks and neighborhoods: The implications of connectivity for thinking about crime in the modern city. In H. McCarthy, P. Miller, & P. Skidmore (Eds.), Network logic: Who governs in an interconnected world? (pp. 157–166). London: Demos.

    Google Scholar 

  88. Sampson, R. J., Morenoff, J. D., & Raudenbush, S. (2005). Social anatomy of racial and ethnic disparities in violence. American Journal of Public Health, 95(2), 224–232. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2004.037705.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  89. Sandler, I. (2001). Quality and ecology of adversity as common mechanisms of risk and resilience. American Journal of Community Psychology, 29(1), 19–61. doi:10.1023/A:1005237110505.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  90. Seifer, R., Sameroff, A. J., Baldwin, C. P., & Baldwin, A. (1992). Child and family factors that ameliorate risk between 4 and 13 years of age. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 31(5), 893–903. doi:10.1097/00004583-199209000-00018.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  91. Shinn, M., & Yoshikawa, H. (Eds.). (2008). Toward positive youth development: Transforming schools and community programs. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  92. Shoemaker, A. L. (1980). Construct validity of area-specific self-esteem: The Hare self-esteem scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 40(2), 495–501. doi:10.1177/001316448004000231.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  93. Speer, P. W. (2000). Intrapersonal and interactional empowerment: Implications for theory. Journal of Community Psychology, 28(1), 51–61. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1520-6629(200001)28:1<51:AID-JCOP6>3.0.CO;2-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  94. Speer, P. W., & Hughey, J. (1996). Mechanisms of empowerment: Psychological processes for members of power-based community organizations. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 6(3), 177–187. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1298(199608)6:3<177:AID-CASP368>3.0.CO;2-N.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  95. Speer, P. W., Jackson, C. B., & Peterson, N. A. (2001). The relationship between social cohesion and empowerment: Support and new implications for theory. Health Education & Behavior, 28(6), 716–732. doi:10.1177/109019810102800605.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  96. Spoth, R. L., Kavanagh, K. A., & Dishion, T. J. (2002). Family-centered preventive science: Toward benefits to larger populations of children, youth, and families. Prevention Science, 3(3), 145–152. doi:10.1023/A:1019924615322.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  97. Stevenson, W., Maton, K. I., & Teti, D. M. (1999). Social support, relationship quality, and well-being among pregnant adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 22(1), 109–121. doi:10.1006/jado.1998.0204.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  98. Stockdale, S. E., Wells, K. B., Tang, L., Belin, T. R., Zhang, L., & Sherbourne, C. D. (2007). The importance of social context: Neighborhood stressors, stress-buffering mechanisms, and alcohol, drug, and mental health disorders. Social Science and Medicine, 65(9), 1867–1881. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.05.045.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  99. Stokols, D. (1992). Establishing and maintaining healthy environments: Toward a social ecology of health promotion. American Psychologist, 47(1), 6–22. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.47.1.6.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  100. Swenson, R. R., & Prelow, H. M. (2005). Ethnic identity, self-esteem, and perceived efficacy as mediators of the relation of supportive parenting to psychosocial outcomes among urban adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 28(4), 465–477. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2004.09.005.

    Google Scholar 

  101. Tebes, J. K., Feinn, R., Vanderploeg, J. J., Chinman, M. J., Shepard, J., Brabham, T., et al. (2007). Impact of a positive youth development program in urban after-school settings on the prevention of adolescent substance use. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(3), 239–247. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.02.016.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  102. Treanor, J. (2011). Portugal edges towards ‘inevitable’ bailout from EU partners. The Guardian, March 22. Retrieved from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/mar/22/portugal-edges-towards-eu-imf-bailout.

  103. Trickett, E. J. (2009). Community psychology: Individuals and interventions in community context. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 395–419. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163517.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  104. Urban, J. B., Lewin-Bizan, S., & Lerner, R. M. (2009). The role of neighborhood ecological assets and activity involvement in youth developmental outcomes: Differential impacts of asset poor and asset rich neighborhoods. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(5), 601–614. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2009.07.003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  105. Vieno, A., Nation, M., Perkins, D. D., Pastore, M., & Santinello, M. (2010). Social capital, safety concerns, parenting, and early adolescents’ antisocial behavior. Journal of Community Psychology, 38(3), 314–328. doi:10.1002/jcop.20366.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  106. Watts, R. J., & Flanagan, C. (2007). Pushing the envelope on youth civic engagement: A developmental and liberation psychology perspective. Journal of Community Psychology, 35(6), 779–792. doi:10.1002/jcop.20178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  107. Watts, R. J., Williams, N. C., & Jagers, R. J. (2003). Sociopolitical development. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31(1/2), 185–194. doi:10.1023/A:1023091024140.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  108. White, H. R., Loeber, R., Stouthame-Loeber, M., & Farrington, D. P. (1999). Developmental associations between substance use and violence. Development and Psychopathology, 11(4), 785–803.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  109. Wilson, N., Dasho, S., Martin, A. C., Wallerstein, N., Wang, C. C., & Minkler, M. (2007). Engaging young adolescents in social action through photovoice: The Youth Empowerment Strategies (YES!) project. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 27(2), 241–261. doi:10.1177/0272431606294834.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  110. Xue, Y., Zimmerman, M. A., & Cunningham, R. (2009). Relationship between alcohol use and violent behavior among urban African American youths from adolescence to emerging adulthood: A longitudinal study. American Journal of Public Health, 99(11), 2041–2048.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  111. Zeldin, S. (2004). Preventing youth violence through the promotion of community engagement and membership. Journal of Community Psychology, 32(5), 623–641. doi:10.1002/jcop.20023.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  112. Zimmerman, M. A. (1990). Toward a theory of learned hopefulness: A structural model analysis of participation and empowerment. Journal of Research in Personality, 24(1), 71–86. doi:10.1016/0092-6566(90)90007-S.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  113. Zimmerman, M. A. (1995). Psychological empowerment: Issues and illustrations. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(5), 581–599. doi:10.1007/BF02506983.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  114. Zimmerman, M. A., Copeland, L. A., Shope, J. T., & Dielman, T. E. (1997). A longitudinal study of self-esteem: Implications for adolescent development. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 26(2), 117–141. doi:10.1023/A:1024596313925.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  115. Zimmerman, M. A., Ramírez-Valles, J., & Maton, K. I. (1999). Resilience among urban African American male adolescents: A study of the protective effects of sociopolitical control on their mental health. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27(6), 733–751. doi:10.1023/A:1022205008237.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  116. Zimmerman, M. A., Salem, D. A., & Maton, K. I. (1995). Family structure and psychosocial correlates among urban African-American adolescent males. Child Development, 66(6), 1598–1613. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1995.tb00954.x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  117. Zimmerman, M. A., & Zahniser, J. H. (1991). Refinements of sphere-specific measures of perceived control: Development of a sociopolitical control scale. Journal of Community Psychology, 19(2), 189–204. doi:10.1002/1520-6629(199104)19:2<189:AID-JCOP2290190210>3.0.CO;2-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Brian D. Christens.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Christens, B.D., Peterson, N.A. The Role of Empowerment in Youth Development: A Study of Sociopolitical Control as Mediator of Ecological Systems’ Influence on Developmental Outcomes. J Youth Adolescence 41, 623–635 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-011-9724-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Empowerment
  • Mental health
  • Resilience
  • Risk behaviors
  • Social support
  • Sociopolitical development