Gussak, D. (2006). The effects of art therapy with prison inmates: A follow-up study. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 33, 188-198.
Author Affiliations: Florida State University
Artforms: Art therapy, drawing, visual arts
Program Description: Visual art therapy program
Program (Study) Location: Medium to maximum security correctional facility, Florida
Study Published: 2006
Participant Type: Adult male inmates aged 21-59
Sample Size: 16
Data Type: Qualitative, Case Study: Pre- and post-survey assessments by mental health counselors; standardized art therapy assessment using the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale (FEATS), and psychological assessment using the Beck Depression Inventory-Short Form (BDI-II). Volunteers were randomly assigned to either the control group or the experimental group. The control group received no art therapy sessions. The experimental group attended group art therapy sessions over an eight-week period.
Evaluation Focus: Changes in inmate behavior and attitude, including changes in mood, socialization and problem-solving abilities; inmates’ interactions and compliance with prison rules and expectations.
Summary of Impact: Results from the different assessment instruments were mixed. There was a marked improvement in mood as measured by BDI-II, but not as measured by FEATS. No changes in socialization or problem-solving abilities were indicated.
KEYWORDS: adult, art therapy, attitude, behavior, compliance, depression, drawing, mood, problem-solving, socialization