Using digital storytelling to promote the sexual health and well-being of migrant and refugee young people: A scoping review

Jessica R. Botfield, Christy E. Newman, Caroline Lenette, Kath Albury, Anthony B. Zwi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Digital storytelling and other methods of self-expression and autobiography have become an increasingly important tool for those working with young people, including those from migrant, refugee or other ‘culturally diverse’ backgrounds. A structured scoping review was undertaken to better understand the potential value and challenges of using digital stories to promote the health and well-being of these diverse groups of young people and to identify key knowledge gaps. Design: The review process comprised a systematic search of the literature and strategic consultations with professionals working with young people in the area of sexual and reproductive health promotion and care. A descriptive-analytic method was used to collate and synthesise the literature and apply narrative and thematic analyses. Results: In total, 28 papers were deemed eligible for inclusion. Findings are presented as two analyses: what is known from the literature and key knowledge gaps. Identified themes included the use of digital stories as social activism and as research intervention, recognition of digital stories as complex terrain and recommendations for good practice. Three key gaps of particular relevance to our research aims were identified. These were (1) the lack of digital stories on sexual health and relationships by ‘culturally diverse’ young people in Australia, (2) the need for discussion of the ethical considerations of using digital storytelling and related methods in sexual health fields and (3) the value of exploring opportunities to employ digital methods as self-representation and autobiography to generate new knowledge and build organisational capacity. Conclusion: As confirmed in discussions with professionals working in the youth, migrant and sexual health sectors, the literature highlighted the many potential applications of digital storytelling to promoting the sexual health and well-being of young people from diverse backgrounds. Additional research is required to understand the particular ethical and contextual issues shaping, and at times constraining, this engagement in specific cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-748
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Education Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • cultural diversity
  • digital storytelling
  • health promotion
  • migrants and refugees
  • sexual and reproductive health
  • young people

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