Thesis Title

Greek Subculture, Fan-Based Art-Making, and Identity Development: Implications for Use in 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

Lisa Manthe, MFT, ATR-BC


The aim of this study was to address the question: “does the creation of fan-based art­making affect the identity development of geek subculture fans?” To do so, a better understanding of the individuals' fan experiences and its impact on their overall identity status was obtained through the use of an online survey questionnaire. The questionnaire was open to adult users of the website, and its various geek subculture “subreddits”. The survey included both open-ended qualitative questions addressing demographics and the nature of the participants’ fandoms, as well as the Objective Measure of Ego-Identity Status, a quantitative questionnaire that employed the use of a likert-scale rating system to determine the identity status of each individual. The quantitative data supported the hypothesis with = 4.0425 and p value of 0.044368. While the study did show a statistical significance between fan artists and having an active identity status, the qualitative findings suggest that all fans, not only those who create art, arc focused on varying aspects of their individual identity through fandom experience. Fan artists, however, seem to focus much more on the social context of their identities. This information about motivations, practices, and outcomes of fan-based art­making may inform Art Therapists regarding therapeutic strategies appropriate to the needs of clients in media-saturated societies, and the benefits that art-making around aspects of one’s personal identity and subculture can provide within a broader social context.