Art Journaling with Women Who Have Physical Disabilities and Body Image Concerns
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
The purpose of this study was to examine the author’s body image throughout the lifespan, specifically related to her body image concerns as a plus-size woman with a disability. The research was conducted using an autoethnographic approach with an embedded quantitative study. The author conducted six interviews with family members and friends about her body image and disability throughout her life. Following each interview, the author analyzed the interview for salient themes and created two art journal responses to each interview. The first art journal entry dealt with the time period that the interview focused on and how the themes affected her. The second art journal entry examined how the themes may still affect her in the present. Thematic analysis was utilized to analyze the data. The following themes were constructed: Impact of Disability on Body Image, Impact of Mental Illness on Body Image, Body Image Improvement with Increased Social Support, Physical and Metaphorical Masks, and Disgust with Body and Disability. The present study lends support for further research into body image concerns in women with disabilities and utilizing art journaling to improve body image.