JKM Nan and RTH Ho,
Journal of affective disorders, Aug 2017 01
Depression has become a critical global health problem, affecting millions of people. Cost-effective nonpharmacological treatment in community settings has been proposed to complement medical treatment. Short-term clay art therapy (CAT) is an alternative treatment that promotes the enhancement of various aspects of mental health for depressed individuals.One-hundred and six adults with depression were randomized into a CAT group or visual art (VA) control group for six 2.5-h weekly sessions. Intervention effects were measured using the Beck Depression Inventory, 12-Item General Health Questionnaire (Chinese version), Body-Mind-Spirit Well-Being Inventory, and 20-Item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (Chinese version) at baseline, immediately postintervention (T1), and 3-weeks postintervention (T2).Multivariate analysis of covariance results indicated a more significant time × group effect for CAT than for VA on depressive signs, general health, and body-mind-spirit well-being (all p<0.05). Significant within-groups changes were observed in these three aspects after treatment and at T2 (all p<0.001) and in alexithymia at T2 (p<0.01) in the CAT group, but the change was nonsignificant in the VA group at T1 and T2.The homogeneity of the participants affected the generalizability of the study findings. The short-term postintervention follow-up (3 weeks) presented difficulties in demonstrating the long-term effects of CAT.CAT can aid emotion regulation and benefit various aspects of mental health in adults. The short duration of the intervention suggests additional application value in treating depression. Further investigation is warranted regarding the potential effect of CAT on alleviating physical symptoms and improving social function.