Preventing Injuries Through Interactive Stories

  • Piercy, Larry R.;
  • Cole, Henrey;
  • McKnight, Robert

There are two ways of knowing and understanding the world, through narrative (stories) and through formal logical paradigms. Narrative thinking involves knowing through stories heard, stories lived, and stories told. Persons' goals, plans, beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge are influenced by their culture tales (stories). These narratives also direct persons' judgments, decisions, conduct, actions, and behaviors (see Figure 1). Stories are universal and powerful guides for living and understanding of our own and others' conduct.

The theory of narrative thinking has been used to construct problem solving exercises to influence knowledge, attitudes, and conduct to prevent injury events for specific jobs or tasks. The persons who work the simulated problems read (or view or enact) a developing story with a plot, characters, goals, obstacles, and predicaments. The persons make decisions that involve recognizing hazards and selecting behaviors and strategies to lessen the hazards and to prevent injury events. The exercises target high-frequency, high-severity injury events based on injury surveillance data and actual cases. The narrative exercises are not case studies, but dramatic and unfolding stories with which the participant interacts as an observer or protagonist. Over 400,000 copies of 65 narrative-based simulation exercises have been used with mining industry workers in the U.S. The University of Kentucky, Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention is currently developing narrative-based problem-solving exercises for farm youth and farm families to influence thinking, feeling, and conduct about specific chores and tasks whose performance often results in near or actual injury events. The underlying theory, design methods, and effectiveness of narrative-based interventions are presented. A short interactive simulation exercise about a 14-year-old boy performing a difficult, dangerous chore involving a tractor and a bush hog mower is provided. Reference citations are included.

This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors noted above are from: H.P. Cole, R.H. McKnight and L.R. Piercy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

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