Examining neighborhood social cohesion in the context of community-based participatory research: Descriptive findings from an academic-community partnership

Academic Article


  • Objective: The purpose of this article is to describe the process of conducting an assessment of neighborhood perceptions and cohesion by a community coalitionacademic team created in the context of community-based participatory research (CBPR), to guide the design of locally relevant health initiatives. Methods: Guided by CBPR principles, a collaborative partnership was established between an academic center and a local, urban, underserved neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama to identify and address community concerns and priorities. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in September 2016 among community residents (N=90) to examine perceptions of neighborhood characteristics, including social cohesion and neighborhood problems. Results: The major concerns voiced by the coalition were violence and lack of neighborhood cohesion and safety. The community survey verified the concerns of the coalition, with the majority of participants mentioning increasing safety and stopping the violence as the things to change about the community and the greatest hope for the community. Furthermore, results indicated residents had a moderate level of perceived social cohesion (mean = 2.87 [.67]). Conclusions: The Mid-South TCC Academic and Community Engagement (ACE) Core successfully partnered with community members and stakeholders to establish a coalition whose concerns and vision for the community matched the concerns of residents of the community. Collecting data from different groups strengthened the interpretation of the findings and allowed for a rich understanding of neighborhood concerns.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bateman LB; Fouad MN; Hawk B; Osborne T; Bae S; Eady S; Thompson J; Brantley W; Crawford L; Heider L
  • Start Page

  • 329
  • End Page

  • 336
  • Volume

  • 27