Date of Award

Spring May 2012

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Anthony Bodlovic


This study sought to examine art’s ability to illuminate the biopsychosocial-cultural- spiritual impact of chronic medical disease. Chronic disease participants were self- selected and consisted of clinical supervisors, staff, and psychotherapy interns at a community-based mental health clinic in Los Angeles. Quantitative questionnaire data and art-based response data, both imagery and word descriptions, were examined. Data analysis combined with the synthesized literature revealed the complex biopsychosocial- cultural-spiritual interactions and interdependencies with chronic disease management. Findings supported art-based data’s potential to complement quantitative questionnaire data by providing additional insights into a holistic lived experience. Art and word analysis revealed themes and identified factors such as shame, uncertainty, and isolation, which affect health-related quality of life and treatment compliance. This research demonstrated arts-based data’s potential as a holistic healing, revealing, and diagnostic tool and exposes the need for further research into the benefits of integrating art therapy and including art-based data in the treatment and assessment of chronic disease.

Keywords: chronic, persistent, medical disease, illness, syndrome, condition, disability, art as therapy, art therapy, creative arts therapy, art expression, arts-based research, clinical art psychotherapy, holistic questionnaire, art directive, art, adherence, compliance, biopsychosocial, biological, psychological, social, socio-environmental, cultural, spiritual, diabetes, asthma, cancer, medical model, medical art therapy, evidenced-based practice, complementary and alternative therapy, hospital, inpatient, outpatient.