Connect to Protect Researcher-Community Partnerships: Assessing Change in Successful Collaboration Factors over Time

Glob J Community Psychol Pract. 2010 Jan;1(1):32-39. doi: 10.7728/0101201004.


Fifteen research sites within the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions launched Connect to Protect community coalitions in urban areas across the United States and in Puerto Rico. Each coalition has the same overarching goal: Reducing local youth HIV rates by changing community structural elements such as programs, policies, and practices. These types of transformations can take significant amounts of time to achieve; thus, ongoing successful collaboration among coalition members is critical for success. As a first step toward building their coalitions, staff from each research site invited an initial group of community partners to take part in Connect to Protect activities. In this paper, we focus on these researcher-community partnerships and assess change in collaboration factors over the first year. Respondents completed the Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory at five time points, approximately once every two to three months. Results across all fifteen coalitions show significant and positive shifts in ratings of process/structure (p<.05). This suggests that during the first year they worked together, Connect to Protect researcher-community partners strengthened their group infrastructures and operating procedures. The findings shed light on how collaboration factors evolve during coalition formation and highlight the need for future research to examine change throughout subsequent coalition phases.