Increasgin Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy in Fromerly Incarcerated Adult Women Using Narrative Art Therapy

Graduation Date

Spring 2015

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

Carolee Stabno, PsyD, MFT


The population of adult women who have experienced incarceration or other forms of the criminal justice system is on the rise overall, and research indicates that this population is highly affected by issues of mental health, substance abuse, and trauma. Studies suggest that self-esteem and self-efficacy play a large role in how women approach reentry after release, and that art therapy can play a beneficial role in increasing these two concepts for the population. The study presented here focused on the population of justice-involved women and how narrative art therapy could impact their self-esteem and self-efficacy. Two scales were used to assess self-esteem and self-efficacy of four adult women who had experienced incarceration, with each scale used as a pretest and a posttest to measure if art therapy had a positive impact on these perceptions. Between the pretest and posttest, four art therapy interventions were given to the participants and narrative therapy techniques were used to facilitate a discussion after each directive was completed. Results indicated that narrative art therapy did positively impact the women overall, but additional studies are necessary to determine statistical significance. Implications for future studies are discussed.