The Influence of Participation, Gender and Organizational Sense of Community on Psychological Empowerment: The Moderating Effects of Income

Paul W. Speer, N. Andrew Peterson, Theresa L. Armstead, Christopher T. Allen

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82 Scopus citations


This study explored the influence of participation, gender and organizational sense of community (SOC) on both the intrapersonal and interactional components of psychological empowerment (PE). Participants were residents (n = 562) involved in community organizing efforts in five U. S. communities. Measures of participation and SOC were tailored to community organization contexts. SOC assessed three dimensions: (1) connection of members to the organization; (2) perceptions about the organization as a bridge to other groups and organizations in the broader community; and (3) bond or attachment to the community at large. Income (low, middle and high-income) was tested as a moderator of these relationships. Results showed significant moderating effects of income on the relationship between participation, gender and SOC on both components of PE. Participation was positively related with intrapersonal empowerment across income levels, but positively related with interactional empowerment only for low-income individuals. Gender was only associated with intrapersonal empowerment, and only for low-income individuals. SOC, as expressed through bridging to the broader community, was positively related with interactional PE for all income levels, but with intrapersonal PE for only low and middle-income individuals. In contrast, member connection to the organization was not related to interactional empowerment and significantly related to intrapersonal empowerment only for individuals with higher income. The importance of participation, gender and SOC for different types of empowerment and the impact of income on the SOC-empowerment relationship are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Empowerment
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Interactional empowerment
  • Intrapersonal empowerment
  • Moderator effects
  • Participation
  • Sense of community


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