Art therapy assessment & rating instrument literature


A Systematic Analysis of Art Therapy Assessment and

Rating Instrument Literature


Doctoral Dissertation, 2005

by Donna J. Betts, PhD, ATR-BC




Art-based assessment instruments are used by many art therapists to: determine a client’s level of functioning; formulate treatment objectives; assess a client’s strengths; gain a deeper understanding of a client’s presenting problems; and evaluate client progress. To ensure the appropriate use of drawing tests, evaluation of instrument validity and reliability is imperative. Thirty-five published and unpublished quantitative studies related to art therapy assessments and rating instruments were systematically analyzed. The tools examined in the analysis are: A Favorite Kind of Day (AFKOD); the Bird’s Nest Drawing (BND); the Bridge Drawing; the Diagnostic Drawing Series (DDS), the Child Diagnostic Drawing Series (CDDS); and the Person Picking an Apple from a Tree (PPAT). Rating instruments are also investigated, including the Descriptive Assessment of Psychiatric Art (DAPA), the DDS Rating Guide and Drawing Analysis Form (DAF), and the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale (FEATS).


Descriptive results and synthesis outcomes reveal that art therapists are still in a nascent stage of understanding assessments and rating instruments, that flaws in the art therapy assessment and rating instrument literature research are numerous, and that much work has yet to be done.

The null hypothesis, that homogeneity exists among the study variables identified in art therapy assessment and rating instrument literature, was rejected. Variability of the concurrent validity and inter-rater reliability meta-analyses results indicates that the field of art therapy has not yet produced sufficient research in the area of assessments and rating instruments to determine whether art therapy assessments can provide enough information about clients or measure the process of change that a client may experience in therapy.


Based on a review of the literature, it was determined that the most effective approach to assessment incorporates objective measures such as standardized assessment procedures (formalized assessment tools and rating manuals; portfolio evaluation; behavioral checklists), as well as subjective approaches such as the client’s interpretation of his or her artwork. Due to the inconclusive results of the present study, it is recommended that researchers continue to explore both objective and subjective approaches to assessment.


Continued here :

4 responses to “Art therapy assessment & rating instrument literature

  1. I would like to get a tool to asses the effectiveness of Art therapy among HIV children.
    Thanking You

  2. Very good research study. I am happy to know that art can be used as an intervention for various forms of social problems. I have great interest in your work. I tried to link to the htm file you indicated, but failed. Would appreciate very much if you can send it to my email address. Thank you

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