Coloring Away the Blues: Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Art Activities on Well-Being

Lucy Agurkis

Name: Lucy Agurkis
Majors: Psychology, Studio Art
Advisors: Meredith o. Hope, Daren Kendall

For college-attending emerging adults, college can be simultaneously the most rewarding and the most anxiety-provoking phase of their lives due to various academic, financial, emotional, and pandemic stressors. This experimental study explored whether art activities would decrease stress and anxiety in undergraduate students. Fifty undergraduate students completed three surveys that scored their stress and anxiety before and after completing a 20-minute art activity (coloring in a pre-designed mandala or working with clay). Results from a paired samples t-test suggest that a brief period of art making has a real stress and anxiety reducing effect when pre-art-activity stress and anxiety and post-art-activity stress and anxiety were compared. In addition, results from an independent t-test show there was no significant effect for art type, t(48) = -.400, p = .345, despite the clay group (M=34.22 SD=7.44) attaining a larger decrease in scores than the coloring group (M=36.91 SD=6.82). These findings suggest that the relaxing effect of art making is significant, in which art activities may benefit individuals suffering from stress and anxiety.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 14, 2023.

2 responses to “Coloring Away the Blues: Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Art Activities on Well-Being”

  1. Ann Agurkis says:

    Do you have suggestions for how colleges and universities can implement this data to assist their students in managing anxiety and stress?

  2. Bryan Karazsia says:

    Lucy – I’ve heard so much about your project (and I’ve seen the materials in our lab spaces)…so great to learn more about your project. I appreciate how you considered both within and between group differences in your analysis.

    Have a great symposium day!