Role of Self-Expression in Art Therapy: A Longitudinal Mediation Analysis

Sherin S and Surendra Kumar Sia Chiara Di Maria
Pondicherry University University of Palermo, Italy


Art therapy is an area in constant development, because of its efficacy to enhance various
psychological traits, including social connectedness and resilience. This study intends
to determine whether using self-expression as a mediator in the association between
art therapy and social connectedness/resilience is a viable mechanism for explaining
these findings. The sample consists of adolescents(N=70; age range = 14 to 19; mean
age = 15 ± 3 years), who were randomly assigned to the experimental group (N=32),
consisting of 12 sessions of art therapy, and the control group(N=38), involving various
art/group activities. Their self-expression, social connectedness, and resilience was
assessed before beginning the study and every two weeks for three months( Jan-Mar,
2022). A cross-lagged panel model was used to analyze the reciprocal effects of all
variables over time. Art therapy shows a positive direct effect on self-expression and
social connectedness at each time, only from occasion t=5 on resilience. The indirect
effect results are non-significant at each time.Art therapy fosters self-expression, social
connectedness, and resilience, but self-expression does not play a mediating role in the
relationship between art therapy and the two responses of interest

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