Thesis Title

House-Tree-Person with Breast Cancer Patients as Indicating Mood Disturbance, Secure Attachment, and Suppression

Graduation Date

Summer 1997

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


This study investigates the validity of the House-Tree-Person (HTP) projective assessment in assessing (1) mood disturbance, (2) secure attachment, and (3) suppression of negative affect, with 17 early stage prima^ breast cancer patients Subjects completed 4 self-report questionnaires: the Profile of Mood States (POMS; McNair, e. al„ 1971), the Single Item Measure of Social Support (SIMSS; Blake & McKay, 1986), the Relationship Inventory (RI, Bartholomew, 1990), and the Courtald Emotional Control Scale (CECS; Greer & Morris, 1983), The subjects also completed the HTP (Buck, 1948) drawing assessment. Pearson Product-moment correlational tests were completed between the questionnaires and their respective constructs in the HTP, suppression, secure attachment, and mood disturbance. Results demonstrate a positive trend between the POMS and the HTP construct for mood disturbance. No relationship was found between the HTP construct for secure attachment and the RI. Results indicate a significant negative correlation between the HTP construct for suppression and the CECS construct for anger suppression. A t-test demonstrated a significant relationship between subjects who scored high on the HTP secure attachment scale, low on the SIMSS, and also scored high on the HTP suppression scale. Though the sample size utilized in this research is small (n = 17), this pilot study validates the HTP constructs of mood disturbance and suppression with this sample. No previous research has been found which utilized HTP with early stage primary breast cancer patients as outlined in this study.