Empowerment and the Goals of Public Health.

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Empowerment and the Goals of Public Health.

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title Empowerment and the Goals of Public Health.
Author(s) Tengland, Per-Anders
Date 2007-06
English abstract
“Empowerment” is a central concept in health promotion. Sometimes empowerment and health promotion are even seen as being synonymous. The concept is, however, also used in various other areas, like social work and education, so “empowerment” appears to denote something more than working towards promoting health. This calls for a clarification of the concept. The intention of this paper is to find a plausible and useful definition of “empowerment” that is suitable for work in various professions, including health promotion, health education and public health. Several suggestions are discussed in the paper, for example control over life or health, autonomy, knowledge, health, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and freedom. It is concluded that there are two plausible complementary uses, one where empowerment is seen as a goal and one where it is seen as a process or approach. Empowerment as a goal is to have control over the determinants of one’s quality of life (which includes health), and empowerment as a process is to create a professional relation where the client, group or community takes control over the change process, determining both the goals of this process and the means to use. Finally, the practical and ethical consequences for health promotion of this definition of “empowerment” are presented. In order to be consistent with the definition, the empowerment goals should only involve (direct and indirect) health changes that contribute to quality of life, and the “approach” used has to start from the wishes of the group or community in question.
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Empowerment
Health promotion
Quality of life
Goals of public health
Control over determinants
Humanities/Social Sciences
Public Health
Note The 19th IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion and Health Education, 10-15 juni, 2007, Vancouver, Canada
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/9408 (link to this page)

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