Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2024

First Advisor

Dr. Jayashree George

Second Advisor

Shelly Goebl-Parker

Third Advisor

Megan Robb


Previous studies showed that both eating disorder (ED) behaviors and attachment styles (ASs) could reflect on individuals’ uses of art materials. This mixed methods study aimed to explore the correlation between ED diagnoses and ASs, investigate clients’ selection of and familiarity with art materials, as well as understand how clients’ self-reports of media interactions match clinical observations. Participants were adults receiving residential care in an ED facility in Midwestern United States. Data were collected through surveys, chart reviews, and discussions with the participants’ therapist. The results of this study found a high prevalence (85%) of insecure attachment in the population. Participants with different ED diagnoses and ASs demonstrated distinct ways of using art materials and experienced separate modes of information processing. Discrepancies among subjective experiences, the therapist’s observations, and literature were discussed. Clinical applications include designing informed treatment plans to meet clients’ need and gaining a holistic view of the population.

Included in

Art Therapy Commons