Title

Creative Activities and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Presenter Information

Abigail EmersonFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Psychology

Minor

Studio Art

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Patrick Cushen, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have experienced greater levels of stress due to the pressures of coping with the health, interpersonal, and financial struggles resulting from COVID-19 and efforts to contain its spread (Huang & Zhao, 2020; Taylor et al., 2020). Extended time at home during this pandemic has caused many to turn to different types of creative activities to cope with these stressors or to pass time (Mercier et al., 2021). Creativity activities such as artmaking and storytelling can provide many mental health benefits for those coping with difficult life circumstances (Drake & Winner, 2012; Forgeard & Elstein, 2014). Further, it has been theorized that the intended purpose and audiences of creative activities could have differing impacts on the extent of these benefits. That is, those effects may depend on the levels of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that those individuals may gain from sharing works with these audiences (Forgeard & Mecklenburg, 2013). The current study examines relationships between the amount and audiences of creative activities that individuals participated in during the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health outcomes. It is expected that activities completed for audiences associated with a higher level of intrinsic motivation will be positively correlated with lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. The results of this study may provide greater insight into the benefits of these activities during a time of heightened stress as well as the motivational factors affecting the extent of these benefits.

Keywords: COVID-19, anxiety, depression, creativity, stress

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Creative Activities and Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have experienced greater levels of stress due to the pressures of coping with the health, interpersonal, and financial struggles resulting from COVID-19 and efforts to contain its spread (Huang & Zhao, 2020; Taylor et al., 2020). Extended time at home during this pandemic has caused many to turn to different types of creative activities to cope with these stressors or to pass time (Mercier et al., 2021). Creativity activities such as artmaking and storytelling can provide many mental health benefits for those coping with difficult life circumstances (Drake & Winner, 2012; Forgeard & Elstein, 2014). Further, it has been theorized that the intended purpose and audiences of creative activities could have differing impacts on the extent of these benefits. That is, those effects may depend on the levels of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that those individuals may gain from sharing works with these audiences (Forgeard & Mecklenburg, 2013). The current study examines relationships between the amount and audiences of creative activities that individuals participated in during the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health outcomes. It is expected that activities completed for audiences associated with a higher level of intrinsic motivation will be positively correlated with lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. The results of this study may provide greater insight into the benefits of these activities during a time of heightened stress as well as the motivational factors affecting the extent of these benefits.

Keywords: COVID-19, anxiety, depression, creativity, stress