Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2022

Academic Department


Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Evan Smith and Dr. Michael Roy


Existing research into the Creative Arts Therapies (or CAT), though still growing and not quite widely recognized across the field of Psychology, points toward the use of art related interventions to decrease stress levels and create a high sense of enjoyment, but little research has been done to examine the impact of particular components of said intervention. This includes how the role of the instructor of such an intervention would impact stress levels and enjoyment, if art experience of the participant has a role in the outcome of either variable, or if a particular mindset about creativity could impact one’s willingness to engage with the arts overall. The current study consisted of two studies, each exploring these possibilities as a means of broadening the acceptance of CAT. The first examined the impacts of both a high stress instruction type and a low stress instruction type of art intervention carried out on two randomized groups. Results showed that instruction type did not influence either group of participants, but instead found that stress levels decreased significantly, and that reported enjoyment was high across groups. Regardless of instruction type or art experience, a simple art intervention can have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. The second study collected data regarding participants’ opinions on and experience with the arts and compared with their mindset type regarding creativity: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Results found that those reporting a higher growth mindset type had more willingness to engage in the Creative Arts Therapies, along with higher enjoyment of the arts overall. This could indicate the need to work on increasing a growth mindset towards creativity and the arts to have more participants willing to engage in CAT. The findings of both studies call for more attention and validity to be given to the fields of CAT and for continued work at bringing art to more people both in the therapy setting and in their own free time.


Honors Senior Thesis; Honors in the Discipline

Included in

Psychology Commons