- Elena Lynn, Health Behavior Science, University of Delaware
- Yendelela Cuffee, Epidemiology, University of Delaware
Background: Storytelling is an evidence-based approach that has been effectively implemented into health interventions to promote behavioral change, such as increasing physical activity and medication adherence. The prevalence of hypertension within the Black community in the United States is among the highest in the world, 55.8% for Black men and 56.9% for Black women. This high prevalence has been attributed to structural factors and unequal access to healthcare. Storytelling interventions have been demonstrated as a culturally relevant approach that has contributed to reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The objective of our study was to assess the feasibility of implementing a storytelling-based intervention designed for Black adults with hypertension.
Methods: We recruited 31 Black adults diagnosed with hypertension to view nine video stories of individuals living with hypertension and to provide feedback on the impact of the stories and storytellers. Participants were recruited in-person at a Federally Qualified Health Center, and online using Research Match. Study data was analyzed using STATA version 18 and was approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Delaware.
Findings: Study participants were mostly female (83.87%), with an average age of 53.4 and at least an associate’s degree (67.74%). Fifty-eight percent of participants made less than $50,000. The majority of participants (96.77%) felt the stories inspired them to become more active in managing their hypertension. Ninety-seven percent felt this approach would be helpful for managing hypertension.
Implications: Specific to individuals with hypertension, storytelling interventions may contribute to reductions in blood pressure and increase engagement in managing the condition. The storytelling approach can easily be disseminated to other communities and health settings to make a broader impact on health and wellness, and to advance health equity for communities that carry the greatest burden of disease from uncontrolled hypertension.