Understanding children’s experiences of self-wetting in humanitarian contexts: An evaluation of the Story Book methodology

Claire A. Rosato-Scott, Mahbub Alam, Barbara E Evans, Jo Rose, Eleanor Wozei, Dani Barrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known about how children in humanitarian contexts experience self-wetting. Children can wet themselves due to having the medical condition of urinary incontinence (the involuntary leakage of urine), or due to them not wanting to or not being able to use the toilet facilities available (social or functional incontinence). Self-wetting is a global public health challenge: the physical health of children can suffer; they can miss out on educational and social opportunities; they may face increased protection risks; and the emotional effect on daily life can be significantly negative. The Story Book methodology was developed to facilitate conversations with children aged five to eleven in humanitarian contexts (specifically refugee settlements in Adjumani District, Uganda; and refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh) about self-wetting to understand how humanitarian professionals can best meet the needs of children that wet themselves. This paper has evaluated how far the Story Book methodology meets the specific requirements of conducting research a) in a humanitarian context; b) with young children; and c) on a personal and highly sensitive topic. Data has been used from Story Book sessions held with children in Adjumani District and Cox’s Bazar, and from semi-structured interviews held with adults known to have participated in the planning and/or facilitation of the sessions. The evaluation found that although the Story Book methodology provided deep insights into how children in humanitarian contexts experience self-wetting, it was not always implemented as designed; it is not practical to implement in humanitarian settings; and it was not acceptable to all participants and facilitators as a research tool. Changes have been recommended to improve the methodology as a research tool to better understand how children experience personal health issues, but even with such changes the methodology will remain better suited to non-humanitarian contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0001194
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS Global Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding children’s experiences of self-wetting in humanitarian contexts: An evaluation of the Story Book methodology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this