Identifying Attitudes and Beliefs of United States Veterans About Art Therapy as a Viable Treatment Option for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
CitationHerzog, Petra. 2019. Identifying Attitudes and Beliefs of United States Veterans About Art Therapy as a Viable Treatment Option for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis study used quantitative survey methodology to determine how United States veterans’ attitudes and beliefs about alternative art therapy compared to their attitudes and beliefs about evidence-based treatments already accepted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for treating war-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Veterans from a demographically representative U.S. sample were surveyed about art therapy as an effective treatment for PTSD, relative to currently available treatment options offered by the VA. Respondents also were asked whether they would perceive stigma associated with the use of art therapy. Finally, differences in their likelihood of seeking art therapy were examined based on demographics including gender, age, race, and branch of military. U.S. veterans were recruited using a convenience sample (N=32) and self-reported their PTSD diagnosis, attitudes about art therapy, and potential stigma associated with seeking art therapy treatment. The majority of participants (65.6%) indicated that they would try art therapy but were split on whether or not they thought they would experience stigma as a result. Interestingly, no respondents indicated being familiar with art therapy as a treatment for PTSD. Demographically, a higher percentage of females endorsed a likelihood of trying art therapy than males. In addition, White people had a more favorable attitude toward trying art therapy when compared to minorities. Overall, this study was the first to demonstrate perceived benefits of U.S. veterans for the use of art therapy as an efficacious treatment for PTSD. Thus, the current work may inform the development of education materials to increase awareness of art therapy as an intervention for PTSD in U.S. Veterans.
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