Measuring instruments for empowerment in social work: A scoping review

T. A. Noordink*, L. Verharen, M. J. D. Schalk, M. van Eck, M. R. F. Van Regenmortel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Empowerment is seen as an important thinking and working framework for social work. Ideally, it is possible to measure the empowering effects of social work. However, various factors complicate measuring empowerment, making it a difficult exercise. In past decades many instruments for measuring empowerment have been developed and there are many variations in the way these instruments have been developed. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the available instruments, scales or questionnaires that intent to measure the empowerment of users of social work in different contexts of social work, by means of a scoping review. A total of 2,711 studies were screened, resulting in 49 unique instruments for measuring empowerment in contexts related to social work. The results show that the found instruments are almost exclusively Patient-Reported Outcome Scales. Whilst many instruments measure individual empowerment, only a few measure community empowerment. The results also show that there are many variations in which instruments operationalise empowerment. This overview provides social work organisations and its researchers an overview of measuring tools necessary to measure the effects of their efforts, allowing them to build on what is available.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1482–1508
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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