Thesis Title

The Diagnostic Drawing Series: Research with Depressed Acute Psychiatric Inpatient Adults

Graduation Date

Spring 1995

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 investigated whether or not the Diagnostic Drawing Series drawings created by adults diagnosed with a depressive disorder would contain measurable elements of structure and content unique to their diagnostic group. Further, the subjects were administered the Beck Depression Inventory at the time the drawings were completed. The subjects’ drawings were then divided into groups according to their scores on the BDI. The drawings were then investigated for structure and content elements unique to each score group in terms of the severity of the depressed state. Thirty one subjects, 17 males and 14 females, between the age of 18 and 64 participated in the study. The study took place in an acute Psychiatric ward in a County hospital. The results indicate 16 structure and content variables with a high rate of occurrence (>90%) in the drawings by adults with depression. In addition, two variables were found to have a high rate of occurrence and be unique to the Minimal- Mildly depressed subjects (determined from BDI score) while three were unique to the Moderate group, and five were unique to the severe group. The research also found general ‘trends’ on how each variable occurs or not occurs in the drawings created by people with depression. This study contributes to the research already completed using the DDS as well as to the assessment for depression in the clinical setting using projective art assessments like the Diagnostic Drawing Series.