Thesis Title

Culturally Sensitive Art Therapy Group with Latina Adolescents

Graduation Date

Spring 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

Arnell Etherington, PhD, MFT, ATR-BC


Latina female adolescents are at high risk of depression for they are have to balance not only adolescence development and female identity constructs, but also being an ethnic minority in the United States. In the United States there is high population of Latinos, yet many do not seek mental health resources due to cultural hesitancies. Although dealing with adolescence issues and female development are staring to be studied more, the cultural dichotomy these adolescents face by being Latina is highly underrepresented in art therapy literature. This study explored culturally sensitive art therapy interventions on the self-esteem and depressive symptoms of female Latina adolescents. The study comprised of bi-weekly art therapy group meetings over a period of four weeks.

Participants ranged front the age of 5 through 7, and were chosen from a continuation high school in Northern California. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) and PHQ- 9 Depression Questionnaire were used pre-and post-group to asses for depressive symptoms and self-esteem levels. In addition, this researcher used questioner, interviews and observations to assess relevancy of the cultural aspect of the art therapy. The results of this study revealed that depressive symptoms decreased for all participants while self esteem increased for most participants. This study also demonstrated that the cultural components of the art therapy group showed to be important to all of the participants The results attained highlight the need for further culturally sensitive art interventions and the possible implications of art therapy on education.