UTA study finds art therapy helps veterans cope with trauma

May 09, 2018

Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington have found that 98 percent of veterans participating in the University's Artopia program consider that art therapy helped them cope with service-related trauma or disability. An equal percentage reported that art therapy helped them cope with everyday life.

"Texas has one of the highest populations of veterans in the U.S. and very little accredited art therapy support," said Amanda Alexander, UTA associate professor of Art Education and leader of the UTA program. "We decided to develop art therapy workshops and measure symptom relief and healing for men and women dealing with service-related trauma or disabilities."

Alexander received an initial seed grant from the College of Liberal Arts to start the Artopia program and research its effectiveness among veterans at UTA. Five workshops and an art exhibition were developed in 2016 and 2017.

The multidisciplinary project was guided by Alexander from the Art + Art History Department and faculty from the Department of Psychology in collaboration with the Veterans Assistance Center at UTA. Licensed art therapists from The Art Station, a Fort Worth nonprofit art therapy organization, provided the professional art therapy support.

Jane Avila, founder of The Art Station, explained that her organization aims to "find a holistic way of helping veterans to bridge the gap from deployment to civilian life. Art therapy has been shown to reduce cortisol or stress hormone in the body within half an hour, and professionals like ourselves who also have mental health qualifications alongside knowledge of art can enhance that experience."

Before and after each workshop, researchers conducted a Profile of Mood States (POMS) survey with the veterans to measure psychological distress. The POMS survey is considered an excellent measure and is known for its ease of administration. More than 50 veterans attended the workshops and 33 completed the pre/post POMS survey.

The results were overwhelmingly positive:

"With these initial positive results, we are now looking to gain more funding for a larger project with more veterans," Alexander said.

Other positive impacts include:

Elizabeth Cawthon, UTA's Dean of Liberal Arts, underlined the importance of this project to UTA, one of the country's leading institutions for veterans.

"Military Times has ranked UTA the no.1 university in Texas for veterans and their families to earn a college degree, and this research really forms part of the services that we can provide to that constituency," Cawthon said. "The project is also a great example of multidisciplinary work of the College of Liberal Arts with the College of Science and the Veterans Assistance Center around the University's Strategic Theme of Health and the Human Condition and effectively allows for new ideas through cross-collaborative work."
-end-


University of Texas at Arlington

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.