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Community resilience, health, and human security: a stakeholder-engaged case study on gang violence and its harmful effects on adolescents in Belize

Flores, Francisca (2018) Community resilience, health, and human security: a stakeholder-engaged case study on gang violence and its harmful effects on adolescents in Belize. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Youth violence will be one of the most challenging threats to adolescent health in the 21st Century. Building individual and family resilience have proven to be effective prevention measures against youth violence; however, they do not adequately address inequities in violence-related health outcomes among adolescents. To improve health equity, it is imperative that prevention measures not only curtail violence, but also curb its harmful effects --- particularly inequities in vulnerabilities that give rise to inequities in health. Emerging research suggests that building community resilience may support prevention efforts at the individual and family levels while concurrently reducing vulnerability to risk factors for youth violence at the population level. Notwithstanding, the public health literature on community resilience against chronic adversities, such as youth violence, is limited.
The public health relevance of this dissertation is that it fills a gap in knowledge on community resilience that could improve health equity. Through a stakeholder-engaged case study, community resilience against gang violence (as an example of youth violence) and its harmful effects was explored in Belize. A social ecological model, human security approach, community-based participatory research, and concept mapping were employed to identify factors of community resilience; to rate their importance for building community resilience; and to articulate how they work with each other to build community resilience. Multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis resulted in a 7-cluster concept map, which was used to develop working theories on how factors work with one another to build community resilience.
Working theories support a framework for community resilience with three main areas: Area I, a foundation of “essential building blocks” of survival, livelihood, and dignity through the provision of human security; Area II, a strengthening of community assets and social dimensions facilitated by a sense of community, social capital, and social connectedness; and Area III, a transformation of collective efficacy into community empowerment and collective action towards reducing, adapting to, or recovering from adversity (e.g., gang violence). Future research will include building a case series, which will allow for theory testing and refinement of the framework for community resilience against the chronic adversity of gang violence.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Flores, Franciscafaf14@pitt.edufaf14
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBurke, Jessicajgburke@pitt.edujgburke
Committee MemberAlbert, Stevensmalbert@pitt.edusmalbert
Committee MemberDocumet, Patriciapdocumet@pitt.edupdocumet
Committee MemberSeybolt, Taylorseybolt@pitt.eduseybolt
Committee MemberKorc,
Date: 14 November 2018
Defense Date: 6 December 2018
Approval Date: 30 January 2019
Submission Date: 26 November 2018
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 170
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: community resilience human security community-based participatory research adolescent health gang violence
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2019 18:47
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2021 06:15


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