Thesis Title

Color and Emotions: Exploring How Middle-Aged Adults Associate Color and Emotion

Graduation Date

Fall 2012

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


John Lemmon, PhD

First Reader

Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Ellen McCabe-Wackewitz, MFT, ATR-BC


This paper explores how middle-aged adults assign color to emotions. Existing research based on the Luscher Color Test and qualitative art therapy cases do not cover the middle-aged demographic. Studies suggest that there are natural biases for color association to letters, and that color evokes emotion. Present research lacks information from culturally diverse communities such as the Silicon Valley. Color theory proposes that the colors people associate with emotion evolve overtime, hence the need to include four previously excluded colors in the current survey. The researcher utilized an online survey to collect information from middle-aged adults and how they associate color to emotion. Birth month, marital status, employment, education level, age and ethnicity have a significant impact on how the adults in this survey associate color and emotion. Information from the study may help professionals address stress reduction with the increasing middle-aged demographic, assisting in preventative health measures.