Thesis Title

Self-Esteem Enhancing Therapeutic Art Activities with Socioeconomicaly Disadvantaged Latency-Age Children

Graduation Date

Spring 2010

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


Arnell Etherington, PhD, MFT, ATR-BC

First Reader

Laury Rappaport, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Ellen Speigel-Wackwitz, MFT, ATR-BC


Many children who are raised in homes with limited economic resources have limited experiences outside their own communities. Within their immediate and extended families there may be symptoms of stress that children pick up and internalize. Problems such as unemployment, financial hardship, domestic abuse/violence, immigration issues, substance abuse, and neglect contribute to how a child sees the world and how a child becomes a product of his or her environment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of creative arts activities as a way to build self-esteem in latency age children who are vulnerable to the dangers of socioeconomic marginalization. Ten children in grades 2 through 5 participated in the study, which met for six sessions of therapeutic, self-awareness and self-esteem building art activities. There was no measurable change on the quantitative pre­test versus post-test Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. The qualitative data, obtained through the Participant Evaluation and the Researcher's Session Notes and Observations, indicate a positive change after participation in the study.