Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MCM - MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling




Donna C. Owens


Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder among children and adolescents with the number of individuals impacted increasing, especially for children and adolescents with high socioeconomic status. Although mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are impacting affluent children and adolescents in steadily rising numbers, there is very little research about why this is happening and how to effectively treat this population. This thesis addressed the impact affluence has on mental health in adolescents attending an affluent school system and aimed to explore effective treatments for this population. A review of the literature was conducted surrounding the impact affluence has on mental health, specifically, as it relates to substance use, family and community influence, extracurriculars, stigma, the impact on adolescent girls, and available treatments, including expressive arts therapy. Based on the literature, an expressive arts therapy intervention was developed focusing on externalization of symptoms of mental illness through the arts and implemented with two high school students attending an affluent high school in Massachusetts. The observations and findings suggest that affluence is a little discussed factor that influences mental health in adolescents, and also that expressive arts in a school-setting may be an effective intervention for adolescents struggling with mental health issues correlated with affluence; however, it requires further exploration and research.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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