Thesis Title

The Impact of Art Based Positive Psychology on Stress Reduction for Working Mothers

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


Caryl Hodges, EdD

First Reader

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Gwen Sanders, PhD, ATR-BC


This study looked at the impact of art therapy, combined with positive psychology, on working mothers’ perceptions of their ability to manage stress by using the coping skills they already had developed. It was found that when working mothers identified their strengths in Positive Psychology questionnaires and by creating images of their strengths and personal coping skills, their sense of being able to manage multiple roles and of their own efficacy increased. This was shown in a second round of completed art directives. In these art directives, each of the subjects depicted herself in multiple roles more positively and with less stress.