Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Robyn Flaum Cruz

Second Advisor

Kelvin Ramirez

Third Advisor

Heesu Yoon


This study aimed to explore whether Open Studio Process (OSP) increased wellbeing of middle and high school students when facilitated by teachers as a part of the regular art curriculum. It was hypothesized that OSP might increase the sense of wellbeing among middle and high school students as well as facilitating teachers. The research was conducted as a mixed methods study in South Korea where students need preventative interventions for their wellbeing. The researcher trained eight teachers to facilitate OSP and five of them implemented it with their classes for seven sessions. Quantitative data (K-YSR; pre- and posttest) were collected from 288 students (ages from 12 to 17; Mage = 14.04/SD = 1.551 ; grade 7 to 11; 186 girls and 102 boys; 4 middle and 2 high schools) divided between experimental (n = 149) and control groups (n = 139). Qualitative data included two open-ended questions answered by each student in the experimental group after the 7-session class, teachers’ written feedback about OSP collected after their training, and a focus group for the teachers after the sessions were concluded. Students’ K-YSR scores in the experimental group (all secondary school students) showed improvement compared to the control group for Somatic Complaints that typically relate to stress and depression showed statistically significant improvement which included general somatic complaints (t = -3.649; p = 0.0001) and DSM somatic complaints (t = 3.021; p = 0.003). Students’ responses from qualitative data showed high satisfaction with the 7-session class through improved sense of wellbeing and 93% of re-take rate. In the focus group, the teachers shared their impressions of improved student-teacher relationship and of students’ increased awareness about diversity and more proactive behaviors, personal and professional benefit for themselves, and the feasibility of implementing the program as a part of the school curriculum. OSP may have potential to improve students’ wellbeing in school setting when it is provided by art teachers as a part of the art curriculum in South Korea.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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