Abstract: Mutual Efficacy, Self-Efficacy, and Power As a Resident Scale (English Version): Testing Predictors of Neighborhood Activism and Household Activism (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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529P Mutual Efficacy, Self-Efficacy, and Power As a Resident Scale (English Version): Testing Predictors of Neighborhood Activism and Household Activism

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Michael Gearhart, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Missouri-Saint Louis, MO
Yuichi Watanabe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Musashino University, Japan
Background: Empowerment is one of the goals of social work practice. Thus, understanding how to empower groups and why empowered groups act are two goals of social work research. The present study tests three measures of empowerment as predictors of household activism and neighborhood activism: mutual efficacy, self-efficacy, and the power as a resident scale – English version (PARSE).

Mutual efficacy is defined as, “community members’ perceptions that collective action can be successful at achieving group goals,” whereas self-efficacy reflects an individual’s perception that they can be successful at achieving their goals. The PARSE reflects the ability, desire, and perceived shared responsibility to address neighborhood problems among residents.

Method: Data for this study were collected from Prolific.co, an online survey platform. A sample of 750 individuals was recruited. The majority of respondents were white (n = 574, 76.1%), female (n = 374, 49.1%) and the average age of respondents was 45.7 years old (s.d. = 16.1). Most respondents were married/cohabiting (n = 373, 49.5%), employed (n = 348, 46.2%), and held a Bachelor’s degree (n = 275, 36.5%) at the time of survey completion.

Neighborhood activism (α = 0.821) was measured utilizing four-items assessing the perceived likelihood that neighbors participate in five advocacy activities (e.g. get together with other neighbors to address a neighborhood problem”) using a five-point scale (0 = very unlikely, 4 = very likely). Household activism was measured dichotomously as whether the respondent, or a member of the respondent’s household, had participated these activities.

The PARSE consists of ten items that are divided across two factors. Factor 1 reflects the ability and desire of residents to create change in their neighborhood (e.g. “You genuinely want to participate in activities that improve your neighborhood”). Factor 2 assess the shared responsibility of the neighborhood among residents (e.g. “If your neighbors are having problems, they are your problems too”).

Mutual efficacy was measured using an eight-item scale (α = 0.915). Items assess the perceived capability of residents to create change (e.g.” residents in your neighborhood can work together to successfully influence positive change”).

Self-efficacy was measured using Bandura’s self-efficacy scale (α = 0.900). The scale consists of ten items that reflect the perceived capability of the respondent to achieve goals (e.g. “I can always manage to solve difficult problems if I try hard enough”).

Results: Mutual efficacy (β = 0.209, SE = 0.027), and both PARSE factors (Factor 1 β = 0.162, SE = 0.040; Factor 2 β = 0.123, SE = 0.053) significantly predicted neighborhood activism. In terms of household activism, Factor 1 (β = 0.084, SE = 0.018) and Factor 2 (β = 0.069, SE = 0.024) of the PARSE were the only significant predictors.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that empowering individuals and creating empowering environments is a key goal for social work practice. Fostering a shared responsibility for neighborhood problems and increasing the capacity of individuals to create change facilitate individual activism and collective activism. In addition, mutual efficacy is a key activating agent for collective action.