Degree Date

2-2016

Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy

Academic Discipline

Community Psychology

First Advisor

Bradley Olson, PhD

Second Advisor

Judah Viola, PhD

Third Advisor

Tiffeny Jimenez, PhD

Abstract

For more than 40 years government funding for community non-profit organizations has grown more than in previous decades. This dramatic increase has led to a proliferation of organizations that claim the status of community-based organizations. Community-based Organizations (CBOs) have become the service delivery providers of communities, particularly underrepresented communities. There has been very little research within the community psychology and other literature exploring if CBOs represent the interest of communities.

As funding entities have lately increased their interest in community representation, there has not been a corresponding research base to identify levels of community engagement. This study attempted to address this lack of community engagement literature by developing a tool to measure how all staff within an organization perceive the organization's engagement of the surrounding geographic community. The Perceived Community Engagement Survey (PCES) was developed based on the principles of CBPR within a CBO/community relationship frame. The study explored the reliability and validity of the scale through a principle components analysis, reliability analysis, linear regressions, and examinations of convergent and discriminant validity. The results indicate that the PCES has two components that measure levels of community engagement, that it is a reliable scale, and shows convergent and discriminant validity with 4 relevant items from a Moos organizational climate measure and items assessing staff beliefs in the value and impact of community engagement. The practical use of the scale for more authentic community engagement by CBOs is discussed.

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