Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Cynthia McRae, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Third Advisor

Ruth Chao

Fourth Advisor

Roger E. Salters


Adolescents, Art therapy, Bookmaking, Eating disorders, Group therapy


This pilot study undertook a mixed methods exploration of the interaction of art therapy and self-esteem in an adolescent eating disorder population. Using therapeutic art books in a group format, adolescents created art about their feelings, their eating disorder, or whatever else they deemed important. This art technique is relatively new and novel as an art therapy intervention. Therefore, this study aimed to look at the technique's effectiveness at decreasing participants' negative mood states and investigated the technique's ability to affect participants' perceptions of their self-esteem. Measures of global self-esteem and art therapy related self-esteem were measured using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and the Hartz Art Therapy Self-Esteem Scale, respectively. In addition, the Subjective Units of Distress (SUDS) scale and visual analogue scale (VAS) of four negative mood states commonly found in individuals with eating disorders were also measured. All participants were interviewed about their experience using the therapeutic art book technique at the conclusion of the study. It was found that global self-esteem did not change over the four week study period. Self-esteem related to art therapy trended upward, though still did not show statistically significant change. The SUDS and VAS showed the greatest change after the first group session. From participant interviews, four major themes were identified including art as distraction, significant difference from written journal, increased understanding of others, and art expressing more than words. As this was a pilot study, future research ideas using this particular art therapy technique were presented.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Eileen Chaves


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

100 p.