April 24, 2018

Impact of Participatory Health Research: A Test of the Community-Based Participatory Research Conceptual Model

John G. Oetzel, Nina Wallerstein, Bonnie Duran, Shannon Sanchez-Youngman, Tung Nguyen, Kent Woo, Jun Wang, Amy Schulz, Joseph Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula, Barbara Israel, and Margarita Alegria

BioMed Research International

Objectives. A key challenge in evaluating the impact of community-based participatory research (CBPR) is identifying what mechanisms and pathways are critical for health equity outcomes. Our purpose is to provide an empirical test of the CBPR conceptual model to address this challenge.

Methods. A three-stage quantitative survey was completed: (1) 294 US CBPR projects with US federal fundingwere identified; (2) 200 principal investigators completed a questionnaire about project-level details; and (3) 450 community or academic partners and principal investigators completed a questionnaire about perceived contextual, process, and outcome variables. Seven in-depth qualitative case studies were conducted to explore elements of the model not captured in the survey; one is presented due to space limitations.

Results. We demonstrated support for multiple mechanisms illustrated by the conceptual model using a latent structural equation model. Significant pathways were identified, showing the positive association of context with partnership structures and dynamics. Partnership structures and dynamics showed similar associations with partnership synergy and community involvement in research; both of these had positive associations with intermediate community changes and distal health outcomes.The case study complemented and extended understandings of the mechanisms of how partnerships can improve community conditions.

Conclusions. The CBPR conceptual model is well suited to explain key relational and structural pathways for impact on health equity outcomes.

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