Beyond Collective Efficacy: New Brief Measures to Assess the Outer Layers of the Social Ecology
Introduction: Community support can be a valuable interpersonal resource anywhere, yet past research has largely been focused on adults in urban neighborhoods. Because communities are no longer solely defined by a shared physicality, we offer psychometric data on three new measures to assess other communal resources: informal community support, support for community youth, and workplace integration. Methods: Participants (N=1706) from a largely rural, low-income Southern region completed a computer-assisted questionnaire as part of a larger study on character development and personal strength. Ages range from 11 to 70 years old (M=29.3 years; SD=12.3 years); 63% of participants are female. Results: Internal consistency was good for our 3 new measures, .70 to .86 and each scale comprised a single factor in exploratory factor analyses. Correlations with collective efficacy (convergent validity) were all positive and significant and range from .18 to .57. Correlations with measures of subjective well-being range from .21 to .29, and correlations with mental and physical health outcomes ranged from .14 to .23. Implications: Studying communities in addition to individuals and families can potentially shed light on the variety of ways in which community ties can foster well-being and resilience. The three new measures presented here assess important but understudied aspects of communities.
Questionnaires, Community, Social Support, Youth, Workplace, Social Ecology, Collective Efficacy
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