Digital storytelling: a tool for health promotion and cancer awareness in rural Alaskan communities.
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.