Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Raquel Stephenson


This literature review seeks to answer the question of how art therapy can be used to improve quality of life and connection between pediatric cancer patients and their families.

This literature review also aims to connect art therapy with traditional medical interventions for pediatric cancer patients as a way to create more integrated and supportive care modality that children and their families can benefit from. With a significant amount of children and families being affected by cancer in the world today, it is important to not only focus on the physical health aspects, but the intersection of mental health as well as it pertains to navigating a new or ongoing cancer diagnosis. Art therapy allows for children and families to take a step back from stressful medical settings to focus inward and express emotions in a safe and contained way. Throughout the literature, important themes emerged about the use of art therapy to reduce stress and pain perception, as well as family art therapy to improve connection and communication with one another. The literature also revealed the importance of supportive care for the entire family system to facilitate overall improved mental health outcomes for the family, as well as improved physical health outcomes for the child. Findings from this literature review can be used to make recommendations for further research, as well as how art therapy may be applied to medical settings for pediatric cancer patients. One significant recommendation is the addition of an art therapist in hospital multidisciplinary teams, as well as making art supplies available to children and families in medical settings when an art therapist may be available.

Creative Commons License

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




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