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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UMass Amherst Researchers Report on Benefits of Narrative Health Promotion

University of Massachusetts-Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences associate professor ofcCommunity health education Dr. Aline Gubrium and colleagues recently detailed the results from a National Institutes of Health-funded study examining the effects of a digital storytelling (DST) process among a group of 30 young Puerto Rican Latinas. In an article titled “Measuring Down: Evaluating Digital Storytelling as a Process for Narrative Health Promotion” appearing in the journal Qualitative Health Research, the researchers examined changes in their self-esteem, social support, empowerment, and sexual attitudes and behaviors.

Aline Gubrium2014

[Photo: Dr. Aline Gubrium]

The study is one of the first to collect data on the benefits of the DST process, rather than focusing on the messages participants send in their digital stories. The researchers used both quantitative and qualitative processes to measure these effects among the participants. While quantitative results did not show many significant changes, Dr. Gubrium and her co-authors found greater impacts in the qualitative evaluation.

Qualitative data, including transcripts from discussions with participants, field notes by the researchers, and participant evaluations of the DST process, indicated health-bearing effects realized from the digital storytelling process. Themes included the significance of telling the truth, making sense of one’s story, feeling social support and solidarity, and feeling valued.

Co-authors on the article include Dr. Gloria DiFulvio and community health education doctoral candidates Ms. Alice Fiddian-Green, Ms. Sarah Lowe, and Ms. Lizbeth Del Toro-Mejías, all from UMass..