Use of the Kinetic Family Drawing to Assess for Familial Alcoholism

Graduation Date

Spring 2002

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


Lizbeth Martin, PhD

First Reader

Richard Carolan, EdD, ATR-BC

Second Reader

Arnell Etherington, PhD, MFT, ATR-BC


The devastating effects of parental alcoholism on children have long been acknowledged in the mental health field. The children of alcoholics (COAs) are at risk for developing problems such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and behavioral and academic problems as well as future alcoholism. The purpose of this study was an attempt at differentiating COAs from nonCOAs with the help of an art based assessment. Kinetic Family Drawings (KFD) from two groups of children, those with parents identified with alcoholism and those with unknown parental alcoholism were collected. Statistical analysis of the six items being scored revealed one item- Poor Self Concept- to be significantly higher in the group of children with known familial alcoholism, t(25) = 2.57, p.< .05. Limitations and implications of this finding for practice and research are discussed.

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