Thesis Title

The Cultural Identity and Self-Esteem of Chinese-American College Students as Seen Through the Draw-a-Person Test

Graduation Date

Fall 1998

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


Elaine L. Cohen, EdD

First Reader

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Doris Arrington, EdD, ATR-BC


This study was conducted with two different population samples—college students residing in Hawaii and California. Chinese cultural identity was examined in light of self-esteem via a survey tool and a projective assessment. The Chinese Cultural-Identity Scale, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Draw-A-Person Adolescent Self-Esteem Scale were used to compare the data collected. The study examined the hypothesis that Chinese-American college students who identify with their culture have a higher self-esteem than those who have not developed this personal characteristic. Acculturation and self-esteem were found to be intertwined in various ways. Low self-esteem claims the lives of many adolescents every year with tragic suicides. Such a deficiency in self-worth can be influenced by many things such as ethnicity, values, beliefs, and language This study focuses on the crucial link between cultural identify and self-esteem and its impact on Chinese Americans.