Art for Stress Reduction in an Autistic Survivor of Trauma

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Alabassy, Samar
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Inspired by personal experience, this study explored the benefits of art making, including the positive impact of stress reduction, in an adult immigrant female diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The study was conducted over a period of 10 days, and utilized the Perceived Stress Survey (PSS; Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) as a pretest-posttest measure to assess change in stress levels. The study included one hour of art making with no specified directive for five days, followed by five more days where the participant engaged in five art therapy interventions. Each session of art making was followed by 15 minutes of reflective writing. In addition to analysis of the quantitative data, content analyses were utilized to analyze the qualitative data. The results indicated four overarching conceptual patterns, including (a) increase in self-esteem, (b) stress reduction/relief, (c) emotional responses, (d) responses to art materials. Future studies were recommended.