Degree Name

Masters by Research (Psychology)


School of Psychology


This exploratory study extends the use of Kelly’s (1955) self characterisation technique to explore the information that can be gained about positive mental health and how it can be enhanced by the use of the multiple selves approach. In the novel paradigm, participants were asked to identify six ‘selves’ that they could think of that reflect the different roles that they have in their lives and then instructed to write a self characterisation for each one of these selves. It was anticipated that the many selves approach would yield a greater number of diverse constructs than the original (or single self) characterisation method. It was also anticipated that greater insight could be gained into positive mental health such as an individual’s emotional, psychological and social wellbeing as well as self esteem. Mental health and its relevance to self esteem and wellbeing are explored. Thirty-eight adults (30 females and 8 males) were recruited from the University of Wollongong for this study. Kelly’s (1955) self characterisation technique was used to identify an individual’s common and core constructs. The classification system for Personal Constructs was used to code the constructs elicited in both the original self characterisation and the multiple self characterisation approach into six categories. Four of the six categories of the CSPC system were proposed as measures of emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. Self esteem was measured using the ratio of positive to negative constructs elicited within the self characterisations. It was demonstrated that the elaboration of the self characterisation into a multiple self characterisation approach was able to enhance this technique creating a richer array of constructs and information about positive mental health and self esteem. These findings suggest that the multiple self characterisation approach can be an effective tool within a therapeutic and mental health care setting.