#NoFilter: An Online Photographic Meaningful-Moments Intervention

  • Llewellyn Ellardus Van ZylEmail author
  • Inge Hulshof
  • Leah R. Dickens


The search for and presence of meaning in life is an inherent human need which transcends cultural boundaries. The cultivation of meaning, which focuses on the discovery of what matters most in life and the pursuit of personal aspirations, has shown to have significant effects on lowering psychopathology, and enhancing individual well-being in various cross- and multi-cultural contexts. Finding meaning and purpose in life increases resilience and perseverance, even in extreme environments such as war-torn states and absolute poverty. Despite the various benefits of meaning, individuals have reported that finding meaning or purpose is ‘elusive’ and its sources difficult to pin-point. Although sources of meaning are abundant, individuals need opportunities to explore such in a structured manner. Photographs could be an interesting means through which to capture and explore meaningful moments. As such, the purpose of this paper is to develop, implement and preliminarily evaluate an online photographic meaningful-moments intervention to explore sources of meaning through the use of Instagram©. A mixed-method pre-experimental intervention design was employed to evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention. Data was obtained through (a) personal reflections on the sources of meaning after the intervention and (b) a pre-, post and post-post assessment with the Meaning in Life Questionnaire and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Specific within-person changes on the subscales were evaluated and implications of the research described. The results showed that Instagram could be an interesting tool to consider when the aim is to enhance well-being in the short term. However, the results only showed significant changes in the presence of meaning, and life satisfaction between the Time 1 and Time 3 measures. Finally, the results showed that positive relationships with family and friends, savouring life’s joys, freedom and autonomy, a unison with nature, personal development, caring for or showing kindness to others, and purposeful work are important sources of meaning for individuals.


Meaning in life Photo-ethnography Positive psychological intervention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Llewellyn Ellardus Van Zyl
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Inge Hulshof
    • 1
  • Leah R. Dickens
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of EindhovenEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Optentia Research Focus AreaNorth-West University (VTC)VanderbijlparkSouth Africa
  3. 3.Kenyon CollegeGambierUSA

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