Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 90 Issue 3 (September 2017), Pages 245-509

Does empowerment mediate the effects of psychological factors on mental health, well‐being, and recovery in young people? (pages 314-335)

Objectives

There is consensus that empowerment is key to recovery from mental health problems, enabling a person to take charge of their life and make informed choices and decisions about their life. However, little is known about the mechanisms through which empowerment affects mental health in young people. The current study involved young people aged 16–29 years and examined empowerment as a potential mediator of the relationship between psychological factors (psychosocial, cognition, coping, and control) and mental health, well‐being, and recovery from personal problems.

Methods

A cross‐sectional, Internet‐based questionnaire study recruited 423 young people aged between 16 and 29 attending universities in England (n = 336) and Ireland (n = 87). Psychological factors, mental well‐being, empowerment, and recovery from personal problems were measured using self‐report measures.

Results

Mediation analysis in both the single and one over‐arching mediator models revealed that empowerment mediates the relationship between psychological factors (psychosocial, self‐efficacy, thinking style, coping, and control) and mental health, well‐being, and recovery from general life problems.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates the importance of empowerment, showing that it mediates the relationship between psychological processes and mental health, well‐being, and recovery in young people. Clinical implications for working with young people within mental health services, and facilitating their empowerment are discussed.

Practitioner points

  • Empowerment is currently a poorly defined concept. This study demonstrates how empowerment mediates the relationship between psychological processes and mental health, well‐being, and recovery in young people.
  • Clinicians working with young people might benefit from a structured means of understanding and assessing the different ways in which individuals manage their thinking styles.
  • Empowerment in young people is influenced by the manner in which clinicians facilitate them in establishing social networks in support of employment, education, family/social relations and to encourage young people to take an assertive role in their own care.

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