Narrative as a knowledge translation tool for facilitating impact: translating physical activity knowledge to disabled people and health professionals

Brett Smith, Jennifer R Tomasone, Amy E Latimer-Cheung, Kathleen A Martin Ginis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
100 Downloads (Pure)


OBJECTIVE: Theoretically informed by narrative inquiry, this article examines the utility of stories as a possible tool for disseminating synthesized physical activity knowledge to adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) and health care professionals (HCPs) working with this population. It is the first research to systematically examine in this context the use of narratives as a knowledge translation tool.

METHOD: Forty-three participants (15 adults with SCI; 13 peer mentors with SCI; and 15 HCPs) individually listened to an evidence-based story set in a rehabilitation hospital about the process of becoming physically active following SCI. Individual telephone interviews were conducted to examine participants' perceptions of the story. Qualitative data were analyzed using a thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Five themes were inductively identified: (a) effective communication, (b) narrative authenticity, (c) credible messengers, (d) narrative format, and (e) narrative as a form of action. Together, the themes reveal that the story had utility, the various attributes that help explain why this is case, how the utility might be maximized, what the stories could do on and for people, and how the narratives can be used to support behavior change.

CONCLUSIONS: The article advances knowledge by revealing the value of narrative as a means for disseminating evidence-based information to people with SCI and to HCPs. It also reveals that stories can be used to facilitate dialogue, teach, remind, reassure, and reinvigorate people. This article is a resource for enabling knowledge to be more effectively shared to different audiences and applying what we know in practice to help people live meaningful lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-13
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.


  • Adult
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentors
  • Motor Activity
  • Narration
  • Social Facilitation
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Translational Medical Research


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