Photography as a measure of constricted construing: the experience of depression through a camera
The world of the individual experiencing depression is often enclosed and lonely, void of any new experiences or relationships. Kelly (1955/1991) suggests that central to this experience is the process of constriction, whereby the individual concerned makes the world more manageable by limiting the parts of the world construed. Within the personal construct literature constriction has primarily been examined using the repertory grid technique. Such usage seems questionable considering constriction refers to a reduction in the extent of what is construed, which are usually predetermined in a grid by the provision of a pre-determined number of elements. An alternative nonverbal measure of constriction using photography, was proposed based on the range of themes present in the photographs. Depressed and control participants took twelve photographs in response to the question Who are you? In addition to this exercise the participants also completed a repertory grid. Results indicated that the depressed group showed a narrower range of themes in their photographs, and a significantly larger number of midpoint ratings for the elements Self and Future Self. Consequently, it was shown that photography is a potentially valuable research tool that could be further utilized within constructivist approaches.
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