Thesis Title

The Use of Art and Wilderness Experience to Inncrease Hope in Adolescents: An Exploration of an Intervention

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


A brief intervention wee developed to increase individual hope in adolescents through the experience of art and wilderness. A comprehensive literature review examines the concept of hope, the field of wilderness study, and the strength of art journals and mandalas.

The Hope scale (Snyder et al„ 1991) and self drawn mandalas were used as pre- and post-tests in a quasi-experimental design. Fourteen students, from an alternative high school class of thirty co-ed teen-agers, formed the test group by participating in an eight day wilderness backpacking adventure augmented by daily art journal work and group discussions. Two follow-up group meetings and journal discussions were used as a means of integrating the art and wilderness experience back into normal home life. As hypothesized, a T-test on the Hope Scale scores found significant positive change in hope for the test group and no significant change for the control group, at the p<-05 level. Structural evaluation of the mandalas based on the Great Round of Mandala (Kellog 4 Di Leo, 1982) suffered from poor inter-rater reliability, but discussion of several subject's mandalas provide added insight into the individual growth experienced. Further research is encouraged to increase the understanding of the processes by which art and wilderness effect individual levels of hope.