Gussak, D. (2007). The Effectiveness of Art Therapy in Reducing Depression in Prison Populations. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 51(4), 444-60.
Author Affiliations: Florida State University
Artforms: Art therapy, drawing, visual arts
Program Description: A four-week pilot program during which inmates met twicea week in group art therapy sessions.
Program (Study) Location: Medium to maximum security adult male prison, Florida
Study Published: 2008
Participant Type: Adult male inmates, aged 21-63
Sample Size: Unspecified number of male adult inmates
Data Type: Quantitative, Qualitative: Control group pre-test/post-test assessments using Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale (FEATS), Beck Depression Inventory-Short Form (BDI-II) and Adult Nowicki Strickland Locus of Control Scale (ANS)
Evaluation Focus: The study evaluated changes in mood and locus of control among inmates.
Summary of Impact: This study combined data from two earlier studies by the same author: “Art therapy with prison inmates: A pilot study,” 2004; and “The effects of art therapy with prison inmates: A follow-up study,” 2006, which were published in The Arts in Psychotherapy. The author concludes that while FEATS was more effective as a measurement tool in the pilot study than in the follow-up study, “ultimately, the results reflected a significant decrease in depressive symptoms in those inmates who participated in the program” (p. 444).
KEYWORDS: adult, art therapy, depression, drawing, locus of control, mood, visual arts