Self-correction, digital art making and stress reduction

A. Sion, J. Czamanski-Cohen, O. C. Halbrecht-Shaked, G. Galili, J. Cwikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Art making with physical art materials has been demonstrated to reduce stress. Digital art making is utilized in art therapy but questions about its therapeutic and artistic attributes remain unanswered. We hypothesized that participants drawing on a tablet would experience less stress reduction and pleasure and that frequent use of the undo and erase functions would be correlated with higher negative valance, stress and neuroticism; and lower flow and positive affect. As an exploratory hypothesis we were interested in differences in formal elements of art therapy between a digital and physical artistic medium. We conducted a quasi-experimental study in which stress was induced and participants were randomized to create art using oil-pastels or a tablet. Formal art elements were coded, the number of erase and undo functions pressed on tablets was counted. We found that state stress was significantly reduced after art making with both mediums without significant difference between. Higher use of undo and erase was correlated with less relaxation and higher stress, agitation, agreeableness and conscientiousness, suggesting personality-based underpinnings of self-correction. Formal art elements were similar between mediums. We concluded that digital art making may be just as beneficial as traditional materials for stress reduction, creativity, and flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102060
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Art therapy
  • Big five personality factor model
  • Digital art
  • Self-criticism
  • Sing a song stress test
  • Stress reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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