Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Laura Finan


Civic engagement refers to actions taken by individuals to address issues of public concern, which can come in many forms including engagement in art. Participation in these activities can have positive impacts on the individual, including improved mental and physical health, as well as on the community through increased appreciation for differences and acquisition of values such as tolerance. The Bioecological Model suggests that an individual's participation in civic activities is influenced by the various levels of their environment. These experiences may be particularly impactful for adolescents. Indeed, adolescents who participated in civic engagement activities have been found to have better academic and social-emotional outcomes, such as self-esteem and self-efficacy, in emerging adulthood. The present study examines the relationship between civic engagement through participatory art and adolescents' self-esteem and self-efficacy using a convergent mixed methods design. The data examined were collected from a two-week community-based art mural project in a small town in the Midwestern United States in 2022. The study will involve both quantitative data collected in July 2022 from youth artists before and after the mural project and qualitative follow-up data collected between September and November of 2022. Results from a paired samples t-test with pre- and post-survey data indicated there was no statistically significant difference in adolescent self-esteem and self-efficacy from the beginning to the end of the project. Then follow-up interviews were phenomenologically analyzed to find common themes that were discussed by participants. Three major themes were identified: connection and collaboration, growth and development, and emotions. The quantitative and qualitative data had discrepant findings. The quantitative data did not show any significant difference in self-esteem and self-efficacy after participating in a mural project, but follow-up interviews suggested that participation in the project may have supported these outcomes. Participants reported feeling a sense of accomplishment, pride, and learning new skills such as painting and teamwork. Working towards a common goal can foster a sense of belonging and connection within the community, which can contribute to boosting self-esteem and self-efficacy. Despite the survey findings not supporting the hypothesis, the follow-up interviews showed possible ways that getting involved with art-based civic activities can increase outcomes likely correlated with self-esteem and self-efficacy.


Imported from Hayes_ilstu_0092N_12296.pdf


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