Measuring the Validity of the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale to Assess for Anxiety in Middle School Aged Children
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
Degree Granting Institution
Notre Dame de Namur University
Lizbeth Martin, PhD
Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC
Joanna Wallace, MA-IMF, ATR
The purpose of this study is to determine if the Draw a Person Picking an Apple from a Tree (PPAT) art directive, assessed using the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale (FEATS), is a valid and reliable assessment of anxiety in middle school aged children. A total of 51 middle school age children were asked to complete the art directive “Draw a Person Picking an Apple from a Tree” and the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS), a 37-item, self report instrument. The PPAT was scored using the FEATS, and the scores were correlated with the scores on the RCMAS. Correlations were sought between the fourteen scales on the FEATS with the raw scores for Total Anxiety on the RCMAS as well as the four subscales on the RCMAS. No significant correlations (r = ± .80) were found between the fourteen scales on the FEATS with the raw scores for Total Anxiety on the RCMAS nor the four subscales on the RCMAS although some correlations are notable. A correlation of r= -0.451 was found with the RCMAS Social Concerns/Concentration subscale and the Prominence of Color Scale on the FEATS. Within the female population, correlations were found between the RCMAS Total Anxiety score and the Details of Objects and Environment Scale (r= -0.421) and the Rotation Scale (r= -0.646) on the FEATS. The study provides further insight into the value of using art-based assessments for identifying anxiety and suggests areas for further research of graphic markers of anxiety.