OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Utilizing Photovoice and Youth Advisory Boards: Collaborative Research to Strengthen Adolescent Empowerment


Melina Gonzalez


The purpose of this mixed-method study was to investigate the effectiveness of Photovoice, a participatory research methodology, with adolescents participating in a youth advisory board (YAB), in a marginalized community as a means of strengthening psychological empowerment. This study was designed to help disempowered youth explore their concerns and solutions within their community. Participants consisted of ethnically diverse early adolescents, ages 10 to 15, attending a Boys and Girls Club in a public-housing complex. A pre-test/post-test design was used to assess youths’ feelings of psychological empowerment. The impact of Photovoice on adolescents’ sense of psychological empowerment was measured by the Psychological Empowerment Scale (PES) (Ozer, & Schotland, 2011). Additionally, the qualitative component of this study thematically analyzed the pictures and transcripts derived from YAB sessions. It was hypothesized that adolescents that participate in the Photovoice process would demonstrate a positive increase in psychological empowerment. In regard to the qualitative data, it was also hypothesized that participating in Photovoice would capture detailed descriptions of youths’ voice in regard to community concerns. Results indicated that both hypotheses were supported. Youth that participated in the Photovoice project reported significantly higher perceived psychological empowerment at post-test. Furthermore, the thematic analysis showed early concerns of helplessness and a feeling of invisibility within the community. However, through the use of Photovoice, a growing sense of identity within the community and hope developed. In conclusion, these findings suggest that using Photovoice within a YAB can promote a strengthened sense of psychological empowerment critical for healthy adolescent development.

This document is currently not available here.