Thesis Title

Increasing productivity in graduate students fulfilling thesis requirements via tactile art

Graduation Date

Spring 2016

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

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Jennifer Harrison, PsyD, ATR-BC, DAAETS


Mental health among university students represents a growing concern, particularly in relation to stress caused by procrastination. The student researcher hypothesized graduate and doctoral students would show increased productivity and decreased procrastination on thesis related work following a tactile-based art intervention. The student researcher utilized a clay-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) art intervention on graduate and doctoral students to study its effectiveness on reducing procrastination and stress on thesis related tasks. The art directive specifically targeted the concepts of experiential avoidance and haptic perception in clay. This pretest-posttest study yielded twenty-one participants and found approaching significance in the use of tactile art to increase empathy in one’s thesis work. The study also examined current stress levels, procrastination ratings, and methods for procrastination amongst this population. The current study provides insightful information that may spark future research in the field of art therapy, tactile art, procrastination, and empathy in the graduate and doctoral student population.