Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies


This study investigated the use of two art therapy painting interventions with anxious older adults in long-term care or assisted living facilities in the Southeast. The control group used ‘traditional painting’ as defined by using a paintbrush and the intervention group used ‘touch painting’ as defined by using a foam core board with tissue paper. All participants in the study (n=44) were identified as having symptoms of anxiety as determined by their facility staff. Participants completed the Geriatric Anxiety Inventory (GAI) as a pre-test and post-test assessment. Both groups attended four art therapy sessions with the following themes: (1) Free painting, (2) Safety, (3) Belonging, and (4) Esteem. The themes were based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Results showed both painting interventions reduced anxiety as evidenced by changes in GAI scores, with the touch painting reduction being slightly higher. There was a significant decrease in anxiety in both groups at pre and post study measurements, but no significant difference between the two painting interventions, indicating that both interventions were effective. The data from this study could be used to influence non-pharmacological methods of anxiety reduction in anxious older adults.

Number of Pages


Included in

Art Therapy Commons




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