This systematic literature review is a companion to our review of the effectiveness of art therapy with adult clients (Regev & Cohen-Yatziv, 2018) and aims to contribute towards the ongoing discussion in the field of art therapy on the effectiveness of art therapy in a wide range of child-aged clients. For this purpose, four major electronic databases were searched for quantitative articles relating to outcome measures in the field of art therapy with children from 2000 to 2017. A total of 13 articles responding to the inclusion criteria were identified and divided into three levels of evidence (Case-Smith, 2013). The results are organised into five clinical categories: trauma, special education and disabilities, non-specific difficulties, medical conditions and juvenile offenders. The potential benefits of art therapy in these five clinical populations is discussed and suggest that art therapy can be effective with children of the described categories. The limitations of this review and the current state of affairs are presented, alongside recommendations for future research to promote art therapy effectiveness research. Plain-language summary This article brings together all the research studies conducted so far on how helpful art therapy is for children. We use electronic databases to look at all the research published from 2000 to 2017. We found 13 articles which were relevant and classified under the following 5 headings: Art therapy with children dealing with traumatic events in their past. Four studies examining effectiveness have been conducted since 2002. These studies strengthen the claim that art therapy may help alleviate post-traumatic symptoms in children. Art therapy with children with special educational needs and disabilities. Four studies on effectiveness have been conducted since 2001. Most of the studies in this category suggest that art therapy has a positive effect on children with special educational needs and disabilities. Art therapy with children with no specific diagnosed difficulty. Three studies on effectiveness have been conducted since 2000. All three articles support the claim that art therapy may help children who are not diagnosed with specific difficulties but are faced with a variety of challenges in life. Art therapy with children dealing with medical conditions. Only one study fell into this category and addressed children coping with persistent asthma. This article lends some weight to the claim that art therapy may help children dealing with medical conditions, and specifically persistent asthma. Art therapy with juvenile offenders. Only one study fell into this category. This article supports the claim that art therapy may help juvenile offenders.In comparison to our recent review of research on how well art therapy works with adult clients (Regev & Cohen-Yatziv, 2018), we found far few studies in relation to children. Thus, we recommend further research on how well art therapy works with children.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 British Association of Art Therapists.
- Art therapy
- clinical populations
- effectiveness evaluation
- systematic review
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology