Research on stressful life events has demonstrated their negative effects on health and mental health. The possibility of empowerment, how individuals can take action to change their situations, has been largely overlooked by this research. Empowerment theory and research suggest that the outcome of stressful life events can be less debilitating when individuals are encouraged to identify with similar others, to develop specific skills, to perceive the societal or institutional components of their problems, and to engage in change on a collective level. This article develops this perspective by proposing how an empowerment perspective can enhance our understanding of the coping process

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