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Disadvantaged persons' participation in health promotion projects: some structural dimensions


  • Boyce, William F.


A structural perspective was used in studying community participation of disadvantaged groups (poor women, street youth, and disabled persons) in health promotion projects. Five community projects in the Canadian Health Promotion Contribution Program were examined in a comparative case study utilizing in-depth interviews, documents, and secondary sources. Analysis revealed relatively low numbers and restricted range of participants, difficulties in recruiting and maintaining participants, declining rates of active participation over time, and limited target group influence and power. This paper reports on the relationship between various dimensions of structure (social-cultural, organizational, political-legal-economic) and the community participation process. Participation was influenced by structural factors such as bureaucratic rules and regulators, perceived minority group rights and relations, agency reputations and responsibilities, available resources, and organizational roles. Control of projects by target group members, rather than by service agencies, was an important overall organizational structural factor which allowed community members to achieve influence in projects. The study concludes that a conceptual model based on structural factors is useful in explaining how key factors from federal and local levels can restrict or facilitate the community participation process.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyce, William F., 2001. "Disadvantaged persons' participation in health promotion projects: some structural dimensions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(10), pages 1551-1564, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:52:y:2001:i:10:p:1551-1564

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    Cited by:

    1. Andersson, Camilla Maria & Bjärås, Gunilla & Tillgren, Per & Östenson, Claes-Göran, 2005. "A longitudinal assessment of inter-sectoral participation in a community-based diabetes prevention programme," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(11), pages 2407-2422, December.
    2. Shen, Yuying, 2014. "Community building and mental health in mid-life and older life: Evidence from China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 209-216.
    3. Chung, Phillip & Grogan, Colleen M. & Mosley, Jennifer E., 2012. "Residents' perceptions of effective community representation in local health decision-making," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(10), pages 1652-1659.


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