Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health Promotion


Dr. Lilian Magalhäes


This study aims to explore the understandings and practices of empowerment from the perspective o f professionals working in a Canadian health promotion organization whose mandate is to reduce health inequities. Data were collected from two focus group interviews with eleven members of the organization as well as from nine annual reports. A critical discourse analysis approach was utilized to analyze the data. Analysis suggests that the participants have divergent conceptualizations of empowerment and these understandings emphasize behaviorist notions of empowerment. The organization’s practices of empowerment were also in line with behaviorist approaches to health promotion. The participants of this study gave little attention to power relation issues and this fact diverges from health promotion’s ultimate goal of changing the social, economic, and environmental status to decrease health inequities. This study sheds light on the necessity of professionals to continuously reflect on their discourses in order to advance their practices.



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