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Towards an Inclusive Vision of Health: A Mixed Methods Study of the Influences of Group Diversity on the Processes and Achievements of Community-based Participatory Research Partnerships

  • Author(s): Chandanabhumma, Pornsak
  • Advisor(s): Ford, Chandra L.
  • et al.


Engaging multicultural perspectives in community-based participatory research (CBPR) can inform the functioning of culturally diverse collaborations. This study examines the extent to which group diversity influences the practices and collective functioning of CBPR partnerships.


Population and Setting: This study used data from Research for Improved Health: A National Study of Community-Academic Partnerships (RIH), which examined the promoters and barriers to CBPR partnerships. The eligible sample included N=294 partnerships that were federally funded in 2009.

Sample and Sampling: The qualitative sample consisted of stakeholder interviews (N=55) of seven case study partnerships from the RIH dataset (N=81) using purposive sampling. The quantitative sample comprised partnership-level surveys (N=200) and partner-level surveys (N=448) from the RIH partnership-level (N=200) and partner-level (N=450) datasets using criterion sampling.

Analysis: This study used a nested mixed methods design involving two stages: 1) qualitative, inductive, thematic analysis of the interviews to identify perceived characteristics of group diversity, benefits and challenges of group diversity, and diversity engagement practices (DEP) 2) quantitative, deductive, logistic survey analysis to test whether demographic entropy is associated with structural elements and with collective functioning of the partnerships.


Inductive, Qualitative Findings: Partnerships benefited from functional differences and from sociocultural similarities among members. Partnership faced challenges primarily from sociocultural differences among members. DEP included practices of promoting partnership functional capacities and esteem, and transcultural and interpersonal bridging practices.

Deductive, Quantitative Findings: Analysis detected few associations between partnership demographic entropy and approval structures. Location entropy was associated with increased odds of having a community governance structure (OR=11.3, 95% C.I.: 3.1, 41.1). However, demographic entropy was not associated participatory decision-making after adjusting for control factors.

DISCUSSION: DEP could enhance the benefits of members’ functional differences and mitigate the challenges of members’ sociocultural differences. Major limitations include the sample selection process of RIH, which limited generalizability of the findings, and the inadequacy of several measures, which limited measurement of the focal association.

CONCLUSION: CBPR partnerships can benefit from practices that promote functional capacities and practices that promote cultural and interpersonal bridging among members. Further research is needed to examine the long-term implications of group diversity and DEP.

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