Thursday, July 12, 2007
This presentation is part of : Initiatives in Alternative Medicine
The Analysis of Spirituality Expressed in the Drawings of Persons living with Major Illnesses and by Healthy Adults
Inez Tuck, RN, PhD, MBA, Integrative Systems, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA and Sandra M. Walsh, RN, PhD, School of Nursing, Barry University, Miami Springs, FL, USA.
Learning Objective #1: 1. Discuss the descriptions of spirituality evident in the drawings of healthy adults and persons living with chronic illness.
Learning Objective #2: 2. Critique the usefulness of drawings as a method for data collection by reporting the advantages and disadvantages.

The Analysis of Spirituality Expressed in the Drawings of Persons living with Chronic Illnesses and by Healthy Adults


The study was proposed to understand spirituality as expressed in the drawings of adults who were living with chronic illnesses or living in the community without major health problems. Three samples of adults were offered the opportunity to depict their view of spirituality in a drawing as part of a session of a spiritual growth group. The participants were asked to draw what spirituality meant to them and had a choice of art materials to use. The participants were enrolled in three studies exploring the effect of the spirituality intervention on health outcomes or as a stress reduction strategy. 172 drawings were compiled from healthy adults, and persons living with HIV disease and breast cancer. Using a guide for content analysis of the drawings, two researchers with backgrounds in psychiatric-mental health nursing and familiarity with art therapy analyzed the drawings independently. One researcher is a noted artist. The findings for each drawing were compared. In instances of different interpretations that could not be reconciled between the researchers, a third nurse investigator with a background in divinity who was also an  artist was asked to review the specific drawings. The findings indicated a wide array of interpretations of spirituality consistent with the definitions found in the literature.