Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Geoffrey Nelson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Resident participation is a key aspect of primary prevention initiatives that follow a community-driven approach. This study examines the evolution of resident participation at three Ontario sites (Guelph, Cornwall, and Walpole Island) of the primary prevention initiative Better Beginnings, Better Futures. The main research questions were focused on discovering the nature, barriers, facilitators, and impacts of resident participation and the roles that residents played at each of the three phases of the sites' lifecycles (i.e., the early years, the middle years, and the later years). Data collection involved a review of archival documents for the early and middle years and key informant and focus group interviews with stakeholders for the later years. The major themes uncovered through qualitative analysis were relatively stable across lifecycle phases and project sites. These themes included: an increase in the diversity of resident participants across the lifecycles of the sites, individuals who participated in programs often became resident participants (nature); a diverse array of roles for residents (roles); barriers related to practical issues, residents' negative perceptions of themselves, residents' lack of knowledge about the initiative (barriers); and taking practical measures, emphasizing principles/beliefs that facilitate resident participation (facilitators). Impacts included resident gains in confidence and employment/education, increases in community capacity, and enhanced program effectiveness and project maintenance and growth. These results are linked to the empowerment literature to demonstrate the capacity of Better Beginnings to promote empowerment at various ecological levels (i.e., individual, organizational, community). A model is proposed to demonstrate the relationships between elements of resident participation during the lifecycle of community-based initiatives.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Psychology Commons