Possible Therapeutic Effects of Using Art Materials on Potential Anxiety/Depression in Elementary Students in the Fifth to Sixth Grade Transition
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
This study surveyed an adolescent population around the time of elementary to middle school transition. The elementary to middle school transition period has the potential to influence adolescents for the rest of their lives. A mixed methods convergent parallel design was used to examine the following research question: Can the therapeutic use of art supplies impact potential anxiety/depression in elementary students going to middle school next year? An extensive literature review examined adolescent populations, relevant psychological theories regarding adolescent development, common obstacles faced in educational transition, and ways to ease those obstacles. There is little research on the therapeutic use of art supplies during the elementary to middle school transition. An online survey consisting of twelve questions was conducted with fifth grade students (N=9). A comparison was made of quantitative and qualitative information collected at the same time. The quantitative findings revealed which emotions students reported around the time of elementary to middle school transition and their experience with art supplies. The qualitative data described common emotions, potential art images, and thoughts on art therapy. Two overall themes emerged: emotions-based responses and arts-based responses. A convergent parallel analysis strongly suggests a link between the therapeutic use of art supplies and effects on potential anxiety/depression in fifth grade students preparing to enter middle school. The discussion compares results, explains the limitations and strengths of the study, and provides recommendations for future studies in support of the research question.