Can Photovoice foster the development of social support?

Am J Community Psychol. 2023 Jan 16. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12649. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Photovoice is a participatory, photo-based research method that differs from conventional (non-participatory) research in that the process is meant to be empowering and beneficial. However, empirical research on the Photovoice process remains very limited. Based on feedback from participants who reported Photovoice helped them develop closer relationships, we examine whether engaging in Photovoice fosters social support. Transcripts from a Photovoice study on wellness in mental health Clubhouses (voluntary, community mental health centers) were retrospectively analyzed for instrumental support, appraisal, informational support, and emotional support. Appraisal was the most common form of social support identified, and was primarily expressed through peer praise for photos and insights. Informational support included advice on managing symptoms, promoting wellness, and navigating challenges. Instrumental support was fostered by learning the tangible skill of digital photography and by supporting fellow members with physical or visual limitations to participate in the process. Emotional support was cultivated through encouragement, identification of shared experiences, and connection through humor. In sum, the findings suggest that Photovoice has the potential to foster social support, which may support relational empowerment.

PMID:36645011 | DOI:10.1002/ajcp.12649

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