The effects of a drama-based intervention on perceived stress and self-esteem within university students

Wealleans, Isabel (2017) The effects of a drama-based intervention on perceived stress and self-esteem within university students. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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University is a time for personal exploration and growth. However, it can often be a time of heightened stress and anxiety. A study by Bayram and Bilgel (2008) suggested that anxiety and stress levels were of high severity in 27% of undergraduate students. Drama has been used for years as a way to relieve stress and induce catharsis, however, it is not as established as many other creative therapies. Using a combination of play and theatre, drama therapy allows individuals to explore their neuroses in a depersonalised way. Projecting self-concepts onto a character allows individuals to interpret personal issues in an innovative way (Landy, 1983). Research suggests that play-acting encourages self-care and can reduce daily life stress by a significant amount (p <.001; Smith, Shelley, Dalen et al., 2008). Therefore, the current study aims to examine the effect of a drama-based intervention on stress and self-esteem within university students.
Thirty participants were recruited from the University of Chichester, across a range of eleven courses. They were split into two conditions: control and experimental. Participants were invited for a 40-minute, group based session on the university campus. The experimental condition received an interactive, improvisation-based session, whereas the control condition was asked to have a conversation around a given topic. Questionnaires were administered before and directly after the session and then again one-week later.
Participants were scored on their neuroticism levels, and a significant relationship was found between high neuroticism and experience of stress (F (1, 29) = 4.63, p = .01, p= .89). Analyses showed a significant overall effect when comparing perceived stress from Time 1 to Time 2 (F (1, 29) = 4.22, p = .05, p= .13), however, there was no significance when considering the conditions separately. A similar effect was found for self-esteem between conditions. The experimental condition did however show a significant decrease in anxiety levels compared to the control condition.
The study had several limitations, including the sample size. Further study may wish to include a ‘true control’ group, as it is possible that the talk-based activity within this study had cathartic effects. The Hawthorne effect may also have influenced the control condition, as participants were aware that they were within a ‘stress reducing’ study.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BSc (Hons) Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: drama, therapy, stress, university
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Departments > Psychology and Counselling
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Wendy Ellison
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 12:17
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 12:17

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