Primary-school-based art therapy: exploratory study of changes in children’s social, emotional and mental health
McDonald, A., Holttum, S. and Drey, N. 2019. Primary-school-based art therapy: exploratory study of changes in children’s social, emotional and mental health. International Journal of Art Therapy.
|Authors||McDonald, A., Holttum, S. and Drey, N.|
AIM: This exploratory mixed methods study aimed to inform future research by investigating if teachers and children from one primary school perceived any changes in children’s social, emotional and mental health difficulties following art therapy and if so, what the children perceived as helpful about the sessions.
METHODS: The study included 45 children and 10 class teachers within one UK primary school. The researchers analysed routine questionnaires from teachers and a children’s evaluation interview, triangulating these with data from a teacher focus group.
RESULTS: The findings show significant and medium effect sizes for positive teacher-rated changes in children’s overall stress, conduct, hyperactivity, and prosocial behaviour and a large effect on perceived impact of children’s difficulties on their lives. Teacher-rated emotional distress and peer problems showed small changes that did not reach statistical significance. The positive changes were corroborated by the teachers’ and children’s qualitative reports. Aspects of art therapy which children found particularly helpful were; making and thinking about art; expressing, thinking and learning about thoughts and feelings; and sessions being fun.
CONCLUSION: The study highlighted perceived positive changes and no negative changes in children’s SEMH difficulties. However, future research is necessary to examine clinical effectiveness
|Journal||International Journal of Art Therapy|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||doi:10.1080/17454832.2019.1634115|
|Online||02 Jul 2019|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||03 Jul 2019|
|Accepted||05 Jun 2019|
Accepted author manuscript
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