Date of Award

Spring May 2014

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Anthony Bodlović


Through art therapy, this research examines the influence of the main components of Latino culture as risk and/or protective factors for internalizing and externalizing behaviors and disorders in Latino adolescents. The goal of this research is to also identify how these factors impact academic performance for Latino high school students. First, a literature review examines preexisting research evaluating the presence and influence of particular cultural factors like family expectations and roles, gender, religion, language, and parental involvement in education. Non-cultural factors include peer influence and socioeconomic influences. The literature further examines the impact these factors have been found to influence internalizing and externalizing behaviors. No literature regarding the presentation of these cultural factors within art therapy was found. Second, data was collected from a case study conducted by the researcher with a Latino high school adolescent participating in school-based counseling within the art therapy modality and demonstrated internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Themes and symbols from the art created were analyzed and coded for the risk and/or protective qualities of each factor. Lastly, a discussion of findings guided by the literature review expands the meaning of the case study data and addresses five main areas: the protective or risk qualities of cultural themes and symbols within the art and art process, how the themes and symbols presented by the client can inform and guide treatment in relation to cultural factors, whether to examine these factors individually within treatment or in an integrated manner, and how this process played out within a crosscultural therapeutic relationships.