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Potential of using visual imagery to revolutionise measurement of emotional health


Appropriate measurement of emotional health by all those working with children and young people is an increasing focus for professional practice. Most of the tools used for assessment or self-assessment of emotional health were designed in the mid-20th century using language and technology derived from pen and paper written texts. However, are they fit for purpose in an age of pervasive computing with increasingly rich audiovisual media devices being in the hands of young people? This thought piece explores how the increased use of visual imagery, especially forms that can be viewed or created on digital devices, might provide a way forward for more effective measuring of emotional health, including smiley faces, other emojis and other potential forms of visual imagery. The authors bring together perspectives from healthcare, counselling, youth advocacy, academic research, primary care and school-based mental health support to explore these issues.

  • measurement
  • child psychology
  • child psychiatry
  • adolescent health
  • psychology

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