Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Committee Chair

Mary Radeke

Second Committee Member

Meaghan Nolte


Art therapy is commonly used across many different situations, as artmaking and creative expression provide many different psychological benefits. Specifically, research has found that coloring mandalas—abstract, circular designs—can reduce stress more than coloring other prints or drawing on blank paper (Curry & Kasser, 2005). However, the reason behind mandala’s stress reducing properties has yet to be entirely discovered. The present study attempted to uncover part of the mystery behind mandalas by measuring mood and stress in response to watching coloring videos. Through an online survey platform, participants were subjected to a stress inducing task and then asked to watch a video of someone coloring in a mandala, freely drawing on blank paper, or passively observing visual artwork. The results found that watching a video of someone coloring does not replicate the effects of actively coloring. The properties mandalas have that yield positive mental benefits are unable to be received remotely. More research is needed to fully understand the nature of mandalas and contribute to the science of art therapy

Included in

Psychology Commons