'Painting a path to wellness': correlations between participating in a creative activity group and improved measured mental health outcome

J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2012 May;19(4):327-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01785.x. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Responding to a call for quantitative outcome evidence about the therapeutic relationship between creative activity and mental health, this study examined the mental health outcomes of inpatients participating in art- and craft-based creative therapies at a private psychiatric hospital over a 5-year period. The creative activity group sample (n= 403) improved from admission to discharge across four different psychometric measures with moderate to strong mean effect sizes. Reductions from pre- to post-treatment in both self-reported and clinician-rated symptoms are clearly demonstrated for the creative activity group participant sample. Research findings establish that participation in creative activity has potential benefits for people experiencing mental health problems.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Art Therapy / methods*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Creativity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / nursing*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / nursing
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Mood Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Paintings*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Schizophrenia / nursing
  • Schizophrenia / rehabilitation
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Social Adjustment
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Substance-Related Disorders / nursing
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation