The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of twelve, fifty-five-minute sessions of group art therapy on the self-esteem and locus of control (LOC) of delinquent adolescent boys.
A review of the literature revealed that the development of self-esteem and an internal LOC orientation plays an important part in the total psychological development of the adolescent. Several descriptive studies have associated delinquent behavior with feelings of low self-esteem and external LOC beliefs.
Previous research suggests that group art therapy can increase the low self-esteem and internal LOC of delinquent adolescents. Although a few descriptive studies have been conducted on group art therapy with acting-out teenagers, there is a need for experimental research in this area.
The researchers used an experimental and a control group to determine the effect of group art therapy on the self-esteem and locus of control of juvenile delinquent boys. Out of seventeen boys at Twin Pines Ranch who met the study criteria, sixteen were assigned to either the experimental or control group. The experimental group participated in three weeks of group art therapy, but the control group assembled only for pre- and post-testing. The subjects completed the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale and Rotter's Internal-External Scale before and after the series of group art therapy sessions.
The study hypothesis that delinquent adolescent boys who participate in short-term group art therapy will show a significant increase in self-esteem was not supported. There was no significant difference between the mean change of the experimental group and the mean change of the control group (P >0.05). The study hypothesis that delinquent adolescent boys who participate in short-term group art therapy will show a significant increase in internal LOC was not supported. There was no significant difference between the mean change of the experimental group and the mean change of the control group (P >0.05).
Although the researchers found no statistically significant changes in the art therapy group as measured by the testing instruments, they were subjectively impressed with the level of trust the boys were able to build during the three-week experimental period despite their deprived backgrounds. The researchers recognize that this study was conducted on a small sample. These findings, therefore, cannot be generalized to a larger population.
The researchers suggested five recommendations as a result of this study. 1) The study should be repeated with the following changes: a) The experimental period should be longer than three weeks. b) Subjects should be randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups. c) Subjects should be told which group they would be in after pre-testing. d) Future researchers should pre-test before the series of group art therapy sessions and again after two or three weeks of sessions. The subjects may more honestly record their feelings on the tests after they have learned to trust the researchers. A comparison of these second pre-testing scores with the post-testing scores obtained after the series of sessions may more accurately measure any changes occurring during the experimental period. e) If possible the experimental and control groups should be separated during the experimental period to reduce a spreading effect. f) Future researchers could use a check-list to categorically record emotionally important events occurring during the experimental period which may affect the self-esteem and LOC orientation of the subjects (parents' divorce, school problems, winning an award, etc.). 2) This study might be replicated with follow-up tests given several months later to evaluate any lasting changes in self-esteem and LOC orientation. 3) Further research on group art therapy could measure changes in level of trust and group cohesiveness occurring during the experimental period. 4) This study might be replicated with delinquent adolescents in less enriched settings, such as juvenile halls or probation departments. 5) This study might be replicated using two experimental groups and one control group. One experimental group would receive group art therapy and the other experimental group would receive traditional group therapy. This research design would compare the relative effectiveness of group art therapy and traditional group therapy as methods of achieving the therapeutic objectives in a specified period of time.
Master of Science (MS)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Art Therapy; Juvenile Delinquency -- therapy
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Bryant, Brenda L. and Zirkle, Gail Y., "The Effect of Group Art Therapy on the Self-Esteem and Locus of Control of Delinquent Adolescent Boys" (1973). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1843.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives