Thesis Title

Using art therapy to reduce anxiety in college athletes transitioning out of sport

Graduation Date

Fall 2015

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


John Lemmon, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Harrison, PsyD, ATR-BC, DAAETS

Second Reader

Nicole Annaloro, MFT


The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of art therapy with college athletes transitioning out of sport. The college years are impactful in the emerging adulthood’s identity development, especially for an athlete. An athletic identity may play a role in behaviors, attitudes, and the transition from athlete to non-athlete. In this study, the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale, the Athletes’ Retirement Decision Inventory, the Emotion and Mood Components of Anxiety Questionnaire, one demographic instrument, and two art therapy interventions were administered to student athletes from a small private liberal arts university who were currently concluding their final athletic season (N=11). Results indicated that anxiety levels were not impacted by art therapy interventions conducted during a one-time group session. The artwork produced by the student athletes displayed underlying themes and addressed a need for deeper exploration in future studies. Recommendations for further research on the use of art therapy with college athletes are also proposed.