2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Do Expressive Activities Improve Mood and Subjective Well-being?

Nala Turner
Dr. Jeffrey Vittengl, Faculty Mentor

Considerable literature addresses the effectiveness of expressive art activities (e.g., drawing, painting) for reduction of emotional distress, but little empirical evidence addresses the potential benefits of clay-work. The current study tested clay-work as means to improve short-term mood and subjective well-being among college students. Undergraduates (N = 72) were randomized to one of the three brief activities: clay-work, drawing, or reading. The clay-work group demonstrated significantly greater improvements in two positive mood scales (joviality and self-acceptance) compared to the reading control group, but effects on stress and well-being were non-significant. Participants in the clay-work group were significantly more likely to describe their activity in terms of tactility and distraction, which may help explain improvements in their mood. Results support clay-work as a means for improving positive mood, and applications in art making and art therapy programs are discussed.

Keywords: expressive activities, art therapy , psychology , mood, well-being, clay-work, college students, anxiety and stress

Art - Studio Art

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 7-8
Location: GEO - SUB
Time: 3:30

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