Quantifying the Impact of Participation in Local Tobacco Control Groups on the Psychological Empowerment of Involved Youth
A core component of Legacy’s Statewide Youth Movement Against Tobacco Use is the ability of state and local initiatives to empower youth to effect change in their communities. The authors’ conceptual framework proposes that youth empowerment is an outcome of the process by which youths become active participants in local efforts. Youths are proposed to attain specific skills (e.g., assertiveness, advocacy), attitudes (e.g., domain-specific self-efficacy, perceived sociopolitical control, participatory competence), and knowledge of relevant resources. All are proposed outcomes of their individual participation in these local efforts. Data collected in fall 2002 through a tested survey instrument designed to obtain data on key components of empowerment are presented. Regression modeling was used to examine the extent to which characteristics of empowerment are an outcome of individual participation in these groups. A summary of lessons learned pertaining to effectively measuring empowerment and enhancing the empowerment process through local initiatives is provided.