Art Therapy and the Effect It Has on Levels of Aggression and Hostility with Inpatient Psychiatric Settings: A Meta-analysis

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Castro, Leslie
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
The author explored the concept of art therapy interventions as an approach to decreasing aggressive behaviors and hostile attitudes in an inpatient setting. Improvement of interventions and approaches utilized are also noted. Aggression is the physical use of anger. Hostility includes negative emotions and judgments of self and others. An assumption was made that there would be enough existing research to conduct a meta-analysis to show statistical significance. The meta-analysis included studies that met the following criteria: (a) participants selected demonstrated elevated levels of hostility and aggression symptoms; (b) random assignment of participants to at least one active treatment group and at least one untreated, wait-list, or minimally treated control group; and (c) art therapy interventions intended by the investigators to target hostility and aggression symptoms. The Meta-Analysis was conducted in order to examine a pool of research to determine trends within the field. Thirty-nine peer-reviewed articles, books, dissertations, and studies met the criteria. The standard difference of the means indicated there was no significant difference between art therapy and other treatment modalities in the studies used in the analysis. Although art therapists report the existence of this phenomenon, much more quantitative research must be done to substantiate it.