William Sanchez, Chieh Li
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
Bouve College of Health Sciences, Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology
counseling psychology, arts program, qualitative analysis, urban girls
The primary purpose of this study was to work with an existing organization, and the group of girls it served, to develop and evaluate an arts-based program/curriculum. The curriculum was designed to help the girls express themselves in healthful ways, bolster resiliency, and build on their strengths in a safe environment. The research questions focused on how the girls experienced the expressive activities and whether or not they learned to express themselves through the use of arts in the program. A participatory action research approach was used; therefore, researchers were also the program leaders. Program evaluation occurred through: the analysis of interviews conducted before and after the group began and ended; researchers' process notes written at the conclusion of each session; and journal entries made by the girls. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed for emergent themes. Process notes and journals supplemented the themes found in the interviews. The evaluation's major finding: Expressive activities were a critical element of the program for the girls. Many indicated that through the activities they had learned valuable coping skills, had improved relationships with girls inside of the group, and found an avenue to express feelings and thoughts that they had not typically been able to express. The girls emphasized the importance of having fun and just "being kids" within an all female program. Additionally, having a choice in how to express their individuality was another important finding that emerged. Given the intense test-driven climate of schools, this study has important implications for future practice. Future programs should include a variety of expressive activities for youth, should allow for youth to express their individuality, and should create same-sex groups.
Lindsay Blake Amper
Amper, Lindsay Blake, ""Listening to their voices": A qualitative evaluation of urban girls' experiences in an arts-based girls program" (2010). Counseling Psychology Dissertations. Paper 24. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20000989
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