16 Pages

Prevention Through Empowerment in a Native American Community

The concept ofempowerment and its opposite, powerlessness, has been used in a variety ofcontexts. On the psychological level, concepts such as: external locus of control, learned helplessness, alienation, lack of a sense of coherence within one's environment, and internalized oppression have been used to describe individual powerlessness (Wallerstein, 1992). In community psychology literature, Wallerstein notes elements on the collective level: "communities achieving equity of resources; having both equity and the capacity to solve prob lems; identifying their own problems and solutions; increasing participation in community activities leading to improved neighborhoods, a stronger sense of community, and personal and political efficacy, and deve loping a participatory social action model to increase the effectiveness of natural helping systems and supporting proactive behaviors for social change" (1992).