Exploring meaning in life through a brief photo-ethnographic intervention using Instagram: a Bayesian growth modelling approach

Llewellyn E van Zyl*, Maria A J Zondervan-Zwijnenburg, Leah R Dickens, Inge L Hulshof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The 4th Industrial Revolution has provided several digital platforms through which to disseminate scalable and cost-effective interventions (e.g. Apps and Social media). Instagram, a popular visual-ethnographic social media platform, could be employed to implement and scale interventions aimed at aiding individuals in discovering meaning in life and gratitude through capturing and reflecting upon photographs of meaningful moments. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of a brief photo-ethnographic meaningful-moments intervention aimed at enhancing wellbeing (life satisfaction) and managing common mental health problems (stress/depression/anxiety) through Instagram. A 4 × 1 treatment-only intervention design was used to assess the immediate and long-term changes in meaning, gratitude, life satisfaction, and depression/stress/anxiety. Within-person development on the subscales was evaluated with Bayesian level and shape models. The results showed significant improvements in all factors directly after the intervention. Over the long term, significant changes with baseline measures for the presence of meaning, appreciation for others, and life satisfaction was found. Participants also reported a significant but small change in depression over the long term. Instagram could therefore be an interesting tool to consider when the aim is to enhance wellbeing and manage common mental health problems in the short-, medium- and long-term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Meaning in life
  • photo-ethnography
  • positive psychological interventions
  • Instagram

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