BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to learn community members' perspectives about digital storytelling after viewing a digital story created by a Community Health Aide/Practitioner (CHA/P).

METHODS: Using a qualitative research design, we explored digital storytelling likeability as a health-messaging tool, health information viewers reported learning and, if viewing, cancer-related digital stories facilitated increased comfort in talking about cancer. In addition, we enquired if the digital stories affected how viewers felt about cancer, as well as if viewing the digital stories resulted in health behaviour change or intent to change health behaviour.

FINDINGS: A total of 15 adult community members participated in a 30-45 minute interview, 1-5 months post-viewing of a CHA/P digital story. The majority (13) of viewers interviewed were female, all were Alaska Native and they ranged in age from 25 to 54 years with the average age being 40 years. Due to the small size of communities, which ranged in population from 160 to 2,639 people, all viewers knew the story creator or knew of the story creator. Viewers reported digital stories as an acceptable, emotionally engaging way to increase their cancer awareness and begin conversations. These conversations often served as a springboard for reflection, insight, and cancer-prevention and risk-reduction activities.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in International Journal of Circumpolar Health, v. 74, article 28781, p. 1-6.

© 2015 Melany Cueva et al.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.

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The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium received support from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R21CA163163 in September 2013. The award funded research to increase understanding of digital storytelling as a culturally respectful and meaningful way for Alaska’s village-based Community Health Aides and Community Health Practitioners (CHA/Ps) to create and share cancer prevention and screening messages with Alaska’s communities. Co-funding for this 2-year award was provided by the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences and from the Office of Disease Prevention.