Collective efficacy: Development and validation of a measurement scale for use in public health and development programmes

Maryann G. Delea, Gloria D. Sclar, Mulat Woreta, Regine Haardörfer, Corey L. Nagel, Bethany A. Caruso, Robert Dreibelbis, Abebe G. Gobezayehu, Thomas F. Clasen, Matthew C. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Impact evaluations of water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions have demonstrated lower than expected health gains, in some cases due to low uptake and sustained adoption of interventions at a community level. These findings represent common challenges for public health and development programmes relying on collective action. One possible explanation may be low collective efficacy (CE)—perceptions regarding a group’s ability to execute actions related to a common goal. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a metric to assess factors related to CE. We conducted this research within a cluster-randomised sanitation and hygiene trial in Amhara, Ethiopia. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were carried out to examine underlying structures of CE for men and women in rural Ethiopia. We produced three CE scales: one each for men and women that allow for examinations of gender-specific mechanisms through which CE operates, and one 26-item CE scale that can be used across genders. All scales demonstrated high construct validity. CE factor scores were significantly higher for men than women, even among household-level male-female dyads. These CE scales will allow implementers to better design and target community-level interventions, and examine the role of CE in the effectiveness of community-based programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2139
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 28 2018


  • Behaviour change
  • Behavioural control
  • Collective action
  • Collective efficacy
  • Community-based interventions
  • Cooperative behaviour
  • Factor analysis
  • Gender
  • Wash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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