Art Therapy: A Strengths-Based Approach to Improve Adolescents' Identity of Self and Post-High School Decision Making

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Hintz, Jane
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Theories of adolescent identity development emphasize the struggle adolescents go through to form a clear identity. This six-week single-subject, strengths-based art therapy study supports adolescents’ identity exploration. Subjects include fifteen male and female high school students. Each subject completed preliminary and concluding Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale surveys, drawings, and corresponding narratives to obtain and document perceived self-perception changes. The group setting supported adolescents’ development of a unified sense of self each week as they explored their self-perceptions through art interventions and had them confirmed by peers. The findings of the preliminary and concluding Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale survey support the hypothesized increase in adolescents’ perceived positive self-identity. Results of adolescents’ preceding and final drawings and narratives support the recognition of intrapersonal positive strengths and increased self-esteem. Limitations of the small sample size yield discussion and recommendations for future research.