Storytelling in community intervention research: lessons learned from the walk your heart to health intervention

Prog Community Health Partnersh. Winter 2014;8(4):477-85. doi: 10.1353/cpr.2014.0066.


Background: Contextually and culturally congruent interventions are urgently needed to reduce racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inequities in physical activity and cardiovascular disease.

Objectives: To examine a community-based participatory research (CBPR) process that incorporated storytelling into a physical activity intervention, and consider implications for reducing health inequities.

Methods: We used a CBPR process to incorporate storytelling in an existing walking group intervention. Stories conveyed social support and problem-solving intervention themes designed to maintain increases in physical activity over time, and were adapted to the walking group context, group dynamics, challenges, and traditions.

Lessons learned: After describing of the CBPR process used to adapt stories to walking group sites, we discuss challenges and lessons learned regarding the adaptation and implementation of stories to convey key intervention themes.

Conclusions: A CBPR approach to incorporating storytelling to convey intervention themes offers an innovative and flexible strategy to promote health toward the elimination of health inequities.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Community-Based Participatory Research / methods*
  • Exercise
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Narration*
  • Problem Solving
  • Social Support
  • Walking*