Thesis Title

The Validity and Reliability of the Draw-A-Person Directive as a Global Self-Esteem Assessment in Elementary Schools

Graduation Date

Fall 1994

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


Identifying low self-esteem in young children by using a drawing assessment, Draw-A-Person (DAP), avoids the limitations of many self-esteem tests that require reading or language skills. The purpose of the study is to establish the validity of a drawing assessment which contains variables from previous research that purport to reflect self-esteem. Thirty children in grades 2-4 took the DAP and the Self-Esteem Inventory, School Form (SEI-SF). Three variables found in previous research as possible self-esteem indicators were assessed in the current study: Presence of Hands, Size and Integration. The variables were scored on a Likert-like scale and results compared to the SEI-SF and the Teacher Estimation of Students’ Self-Esteem (TESSE) scores with Pearson paired Correlations with dependent means. It was hypothesized that the three assessments would correlate highly. Results: There were significant differences but not high correlations between the SEI, TESSE and graphic indicator scores. Size weakly correlated with the TESSE. Size and the TESSE had a correlation of .315, with a t-score of 2.957 which proved significant at the .01 level. Integration and the TESSE had a weak correlation of 0.202 with a t-score of 5.004 which is significant at the .01 level. There were two unexpected findings: (a) drawings of the Low SEI group were almost identical to the High group for Size, Hands and Integration; and (b) gender analysis showed 6 of the 8 subjects in the Low SEI-SF group were female.