This article focuses on findings of a two-year pilot research study focused on addressing sexual and reproductive health inequities faced by adolescent women of Puerto Rican descent living on the mainland United States. Working with three groups of young women, in the pilot study we gathered ethnographic data in and around a group-based digital storytelling process to inform the development of a larger intervention. Digital stories are short (1–3 minute), participant produced videos that synthesize still and moving image, a voiceover recording of the participant telling her story, and background music and text to document personal experiences. Based on narrative analysis of digital stories and field notes written in and around the digital storytelling workshop process, as well as follow-up individual interviews with workshop participants, our findings center on the ways that trauma has specifically shaped participants’ sexual and reproductive health experiences. We argue that digital storytelling serves as a critical narrative intervention, whereby participants’ engagement in the storytelling process enables them to collaboratively interrogate and potentially address prior trauma, bolster a sense of social support and solidarity, and potentially recalibrate stigmatizing conversations about them. We introduce our project methodology, and then present key findings on trauma as it informs sexual and reproductive health practices, with digital storytelling showcased as a modality for critical narrative intervention. We conclude by discussing implications for critical public health research and practice.
- Adolescent women of Puerto Rican descent (US mainland)
- critical narrative intervention
- digital storytelling
- sexual and reproductive health