Colouring and drawing : the effects of art making on physiological and psychological stress
Chua, Keriann Zi Qing
Date of Issue2019-06-07
School of Social Sciences
Previous studies found a positive effect of art making on mental health. However, its effect on physiological stress is limited and hence not well understood, and the targeted populations were mostly restricted to WEIRD samples. The current extends previous studies by examining the effect of art making (i.e. drawing and colouring) on both psychological and physiological stress among undergraduate students in Singapore. We expected (1) participants’ psychological and physiological stress to decrease after art making, and (2) participants who coloured to experience an even greater decrease in physiological stress compared to participants who drew. By using a within-subjects design, participants completed both colouring and drawing tasks in sequentially randomized order. We measured participants’ psychological stress levels before and after art making. To measure physiological stress, salivary-alpha amylase (sAA) samples were taken at baseline and after each art task, and heart rate variability (HRV) was measured via an electrocardiogram (ECG) throughout the experiment. Results showed that a brief period of artistic activity, regardless of type (i.e. colouring or drawing) significantly reduced participants’ psychological and physiological stress levels. This suggest a therapeutic effect of art making on stress, expanding our current understanding in the potential use of art as a medium to cope with stress among Singapore university students beyond the conventionally studied WEIRD populations. Limitations and future directions of this study were also discussed.
Final Year Project (FYP)