Visual Preferences of Women with Postpartum Depression

Graduation Date

Spring 2005

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


Lizbeth Martin, PhD

First Reader

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Doris Arrington, EdD, ATR-BC


Many women are known to suffer from postpartum depression (PPD). Up to 10% of all women who give birth this year will show signs of depression. Under-recognition and under-diagnosis leave many of the women who suffer from postpartum depression unknown, undiagnosed, and untreated. The results of leaving postpartum depression untreated for the mother, infant, family, and our society as a whole are devastating.

The intention of this study is to use the Arrington Visual Preference Test (AVPT), a Jungian based projective test that uses image preference to provide insight into both the conscious and unconscious inner thoughts and ultimate concerns of individuals. The hope was to find indicators of visual preference that can then be used to aid-in the diagnosis of postpartum depression.

Indicators of visual preference in women with PPD were found, although the results are inconclusive due to limitations. Of particular interest for women with PPD is the image of the rose, found in the least preferred selections, and the image of the butterfly within the most preferred category of the AVPT. Further research is needed to confirm if these findings are statistically significant.

Only available in print