Student Research

Examples of Research Projects

The effectiveness of guided imagery and fluid art-making in reducing anxiety in adults with ADHD

Loomis, Alaina. (2018) The effectiveness of using guided imagery and fluid art-making in reducing anxiety in adults with ADHD.

Master's Thesis

Abstract: There has been very limited research on the presentation of adult ADHD and anxiety. This population has often been misunderstood and in turn, underserved. This study explored the effects that guided imagery and fluid artmaking had on anxiety and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in college-age adults. The research methodology involved a single-subject design consisting of three sessions, across a three-week span, lasting an hour to an hour-and-a half were held on the Nazareth College Campus. The participant was read a different Guided Imagery (GI) script each session and then made art based on her experience, using a range of fluid art supplies, and then discussed her artwork. The participant was asked to complete a STAI before and after the intervention to measure 'state' anxiety levels. The ETC was also used as a guide to follow movement from rigid artmaking to fluid artmaking. After the first session, the participant felt more anxious than before, however, the participant's STAI results indicated a decrease in anxiety after the intervention in sessions two and three. The participant's use of the materials moved from fluid and less controlled, to rigid, and finally to a balance between the two. Additionally, the participant's experience as an adult with a dual diagnosis of ADHD and anxiety was represented by themes that came up in her discussions involving overcoming obstacles, identity development, and transformation.

Keywords: fluid art-making, adult Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, guided imagery, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC)

How alternative aggression as an adolescent affects women into adulthood

Kawola, Jenna. (2018) How does the experience of alternative aggression as an adolescent affect women into adulthood?

Master's Thesis

Abstract: This thesis explored the experiences of alternative aggression of female participants ages 22-35 through a focus group that utilized art making and facilitated group discussion. The goal of the study was to better understand problems revolving around alternative aggression, in particular, the long-term effects of alternative aggression, and to explore what can be done to stop the cycle of alternative aggression. The problem of alternative aggression is important because it has been shown to cause significant anxiety, depression, and other effects that are similar to more commonly known types of bullying that occur during adolescence. The focus group was held with three participants, including the researcher, and it involved two art making directives, with a discussion period following each art directive. Discussions were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for themes using a two-step coding process. Key themes included: forms of alternative aggression, responses to alternative aggression, popularity, mental health concerns, and gender. This research study employed art making as a tool to facilitate discussion in order to explore commonalities, differences, and questions regarding separate experiences of alternative aggression.

Keywords: alternative aggression, bullying, women, adolescents, art making

Mask-making as an art therapy intervention to increase self-awareness.

Otto, Jania. (2018) Mask-making as an art therapy intervention to increase self-awareness.

Master's Thesis

Abstract: This thesis describes a research study that explored mask-making as an art therapy intervention with college students. The research examined if mask-making is an effective art intervention for increasing self-awareness among college students. The researcher utilized a mixed method approach, collecting both qualitative and quantitative data. The qualitative data was collected primarily through participants' journal entries, which were completed during the mask-making process. The entries were later analyzed using grounded theory coding. The quantitative information was gathered using a pretest posttest research methodology. Participants were administered the Self-Awareness Outcomes Questionnaire, a tool that evaluates different aspects of self-awareness. The data from the SAOQ was analyzed pre and posttest to assess gains or losses in self-awareness indicators. Both sets of data supported that through the mask-making process participants' made gains in self-awareness.

Keywords: art therapy, mask-making, self-awareness, college students

Tattoo Narratives, Healing, and Empowerment: An Arts-Based Self Study.

Romleski, Dale. (2018) Tattoo Narratives, Healing, and Empowerment: An Arts-Based Self Study.

Master's Thesis

Abstract: The purpose of this arts-based self-study was to explore the narratives beneath the visual imagery of my tattoos in order to gain a better understanding of how these tattoos contributed to my life. The possibility that tattoos can function as protective and motivational factors during significant events, hardships, or times of maladaptive coping and the implications for art therapy practice and future research were investigated. Over the course of six weeks, data were collected and reviewed using a five-phase, arts-based approach that incorporated self-interviews, poetry, photography, and art journaling. Four overarching themes emerged which indicated a process of change and a clear shift from maladaptive coping to healthy coping and resilience. Research findings revealed that the body modification practice of tattooing and narratives related to the tattoos themselves, served as a means of self-transformation, coping, healing, and empowerment. It was suggested that through exploring the visual imagery and narratives of tattoos, individuals can gain insight into their own or others internal lives. Further acknowledgment and acceptance of those self-symbols in a social context could be a powerful means of developing a universal understanding of the untapped protective and motivational function of tattoos.

Keywords: Tattoo, narratives, art-based research

The impact of reminiscence through art making on the self-perceptions of middle-aged men.

Sacino, Gina. (2018) The impact of reminiscence through art making on the self-perceptions of middle-aged men.

Master's Thesis

Abstract: As men reach the age of 45, they begin to face many life transition issues. They begin to adjust to physical, cognitive, and emotional changes as well as changes in relationships, self-perception and life outlook. The reality of mortality becomes concrete, and often times, reflection of life events begins. This qualitative study explores how the impact of reminiscence through the creative process might impact the self-perceptions of middle-aged men. Data was collected for four consecutive weeks in two-hour intervals, recorded, transcribed and coded. The participant partook in a measure of self-esteem at the beginning and end of the study. This study implements the use of life review and creating artwork in response to journal prompts. Measures were taken to protect the identity and well-being of the participant.

Keywords: self-perception, middle-aged man, qualitative, quantitative, self-esteem, art, art

Reducing anxiety through clay with college students

Huggins, Cailin. (2018) A quasi-experimental study using regressive art materials: Reducing anxiety through clay with college students.

Master's Thesis

Abstract: This quantitative research study explored the effectiveness of coloring pre-drawn mandala for reducing anxiety as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Art therapists often utilize the creation of mandalas as a tool for relaxation and relief of anxiety symptomology. The research question was: "Which is more effective in reducing anxiety: Simplistic pre-drawn mandalas or complex pre-drawn mandalas?" The 20 participants recruited on a college campus were divided into two groups in which they each completed the STAI at baseline (T1), after a four-minute writing exercise to induce anxiety (T2), and after the participants complete the intervention by coloring either a simplistic pre-drawn mandala or complex pre-drawn mandala (T3). The writing exercise (T1-T2) produced statistically significant results for the simplistic pre-drawn mandala group, but not the complex pre-drawn mandala group, although both groups increased anxiety. The simplistic pre-drawn mandala and complex pre-drawn mandala were both statistically ineffective at reducing anxiety from T2 to T3 when compared to each other, according to the 2 X 2 ANOVA. However, the simplistic pre-drawn mandala group's paired sample t-test analysis supports that as an intervention the simplistic pre-drawn mandala can be statistically significantly effective in reducing anxiety from T2 to T3.

Keywords: Mandala, Coloring, Anxiety, Art Therapy, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, STAI

Does a pre-drawn mandala reduce anxiety more than a creative mandala?

Cassella, Caitlin. (2015) Does a pre-drawn mandala reduce anxiety more than a creative mandala?

Master's Thesis

Abstract: This quantitative research study investigated and compared the effects of completing pre-drawn mandalas and creative mandalas as measured by the State Anxiety Inventory (SAI). Mandalas are a common art therapy method used to reduce anxiety. Mandalas may refer to any circular form and have long been used in the arts throughout history. Compared with designs that feature hard angles and squares, which may be related to frustration and anger, rounded lines and shapes are thought to convey relaxation. While there have been many studies using a college population and many studies studying the varying effects of mandala creation, few studies have directly investigated the effects of creative (blank) mandalas compared with pre-drawn mandalas on the reduction of anxiety. Participants in this study included 26 college graduate students. They were divided into two groups in which they each completed a baseline SAI, an anxiety induction, another SAI, either the pre-drawn or creative mandala, and finally the posttest SAI. Statistically significant results indicated that both forms of mandalas are effective in reducing state anxiety and that neither mandala form is more effective than the other.

Keywords: Mandalas, Coloring, Anxiety, State Anxiety Inventory

Exploration of family dynamics and attachment through comparing the Bird's Nest Drawing (BND) and Kinetic Family Drawing (KFD)

Wall, Kelsey. (2014) Exploration of family dynamics and attachment through comparing the Bird's Nest Drawing (BND) and Kinetic Family Drawing (KFD): A correlation study.

Master's Thesis

Abstract: This correlation study investigated the questions: "What are the positive attachment indicators in the Bird's Nest Drawing (BND) from undergraduate and graduate students based on the Two Category Checklist and Four Category Overall Impression form?" and "What are the positive family dynamic indicators in the Kinetic Family Drawing (KFD) from undergraduate and graduate students based on the KFD Analysis?" The population sample consisted of college undergraduate and graduate students (N = 28). A weak relationship exists as the BND positive attachment indicators increase then the KFD positive family dynamic indicators increase, but it is not significant (r(26) = .155, p > .05). Attachment was found in the KFD as evidenced by moderate correlations between the KFD and Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA) subscales, as well as the BND and IPPA Mother Trust subscale. This population was also categorized into three types of attachment based on the BND: secure (43%), insecure (25%), and neither (32%).

Keywords: Birds Nest Drawing, Kinetic Family Drawing, Correlation Study

The effect of art production on negative mood states and anxiety

Hoag, Amy Miller. (2014) The effect of art production on negative mood states and anxiety: A modified study of randomized, controlled trail.

Master's Thesis

Abstract: Art therapists have long held that art production causes reductions in stress and elevations in mood (Rubin, 1999). The author examined this claim in a quasi-experimental, randomized, controlled study of a quantitative design that investigated the effects of art on a clinical population with clinically significant symptoms with substance related diagnoses. Ninety-eight adults between the ages of 18 and 72 were randomly assigned by groups to either create art or to view and sort a series of art prints. Two measures of overall negative mood and of anxiety were collected before and after each intervention with POMS and STAI inventories. Paired sample t-tests and 2 x 2 x 2 ANOVAs demonstrated art making caused significant (p < .05) reduction in negative mood and anxiety levels by means of time, intervention, and by relationship of intervention and diagnosis.

Keywords: STAI, POMS, mood, anxiety, art therapy

Many creative arts therapy students choose to present their projects at the Creative Activity and Research Showcase (CARS) at Nazareth.