Do children's family drawings reflect adaptation in early years of elementary school?

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The first elementary school years involve diverse, simultaneous developmental requirements in various domains that influence children's future adaptation. The literature in art therapy has shown that children's family drawings could be a valuable tool for learning about children's internal world and adaptation. Therefore, the current study used children's family drawings to assess children's adaptation. Using the Main and Kaplan (1986) coding system to classify attachment representations, it examined children's adjustment with different attachment classifications derived from their family drawings in a sample of 136 Israeli triads composed of young elementary school children, their mothers, and their fathers. Each drawing was coded into one of four attachment classifications based on global scales and detailed markers, such as the completeness of figures, facial expression, size, and degree of movement. Children whose drawings represented secure attachment exhibited the highest psychosocial functioning. Children whose drawings were ambivalent and disorganized showed the most salient adjustment difficulties, while those classified as representing avoidant attachment functioned relatively well. These results add to the accumulated findings in this area, pointing to the potential value of using family drawings to assess young elementary school-age children's adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102084
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Adjustment
  • Attachment
  • Family drawings
  • Young elementary school-age children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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