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A contextual-behavioral model of empowerment: case studies involving people with physical disabilities.

American Journal of Community Psychology

Author: Fawcett, S. B., White, G. W., Balcazar, F. E. , Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Mathews, R. M. , Paine-Andrews, A. , Seekins, T., Smith, J. F.
Type: Journal Article
Year: 1994


When people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, older adults, women, and others lack power, they usually experience adverse conditions disproportionate to other members of society. Empowerment -- the process by which people gain some control over valued events, outcomes, and resources -- is an important construct for understanding and improving the lives of people of marginal status. This manuscript presents a contextual-behavioral model of empowerment and its application in collaborative research with people with physical disabilities. The eight case studies illustrate 18 tactics for promoting empowerment. The case studies show the use of different combinations of empowerment tactics in a variety of contexts: (a) setting improvement agendas from the perspective of people with disabilities, (b) enforcing ordinances that preserve access to parking spaces designated for people with disabilities, (c) enabling access to homes through housing modifications, (d) enhancing support available through mutual-aid groups, (e) developing skills for recruiting mentors, (f)promoting self-directed behavior change with personal and health concerns, (g) enhancing skills for personal self-advocacy, and (h) building the capacities of groups of people with disabilities for systems advocacy. Finally, we discuss issues that may contribute to research and action related to empowerment.

Further Details

Pages: 471-490
Volume: 22
Issue: 4
Accession Number: 26.11.03
Keywords: older, mobility
Reads: 212