Date of Award

Spring 2021

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Joy Yip Green


Between March 11, 2020 and May of 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) counted over 100 million cases of COVID-19, resulting in three million deaths worldwide (WHO, 2021). In order to examine the effects of art-making on social and psychological well-being, seven graduate students from the Marital and Family Art Therapy Program at LMU conducted the following study utilizing a qualitative, arts-based research approach through collaborative autoethnography (CAE). The research question — What are the effects of personal art-making on well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic? — was posed by the seven graduate student authors. The data revealed that pandemic-time art-making impacted well-being through three primary avenues: by acting as a means to cope, to adapt, and to process. Each of our emerging themes highlighted the use of art-making as a tool, and each theme described this phenomenon in a unique and pointed way. First, our art-making impacted our well-being during the pandemic by serving as a tool to cope with the stressors of the pandemic by minimizing, banishing, or making them tolerable. Going one step further than coping, art-making also served as a tool for adapting. It acted as the mediating force between the pandemic’s external impacts and our ensuing internal experiences. Finally, art-making impacted well-being throughout the pandemic by serving as a tool to process corporeal experiences, emotional experiences, and other personal realities. In order to build upon our findings, we propose future research on the impacts of personal art-making on wellness through collaborative autoethnography by participant-researchers representing diverse cultures within their social and environmental contexts.