A Comparison of the Positive Effects of Structured and Nonstructured Art Activities

Gemma Cross, Patricia M. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study compared the effects of 2 art activities (structured and nonstructured) and a focused breathing exercise on outcome measures of mindfulness, anxiety, and affect. Seventy-seven participants, recruited from university students and the general public, were randomly assigned to either 15 min of coloring a mandala (structured), free drawing (nonstructured), or a focused breathing exercise. Results demonstrated that all 3 interventions produced significant improvements in the outcome measures at posttest compared with pretest. However, no significant differences were found across the 3 intervention conditions. These findings inform the design of brief interventions aimed at achieving short-term positive psychological benefits in nonclinical populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalArt Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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