The effects of Creative Expressive Arts Therapy on Peer Attachment of Sexually Abused Children in South Africa
Jongh, M. de
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Introduction: This study aimed to investigate the effects of Creative Expressive Arts Therapy (CEAT) on peer attachment behaviors of traumatized children at The Teddy Bear Clinic (TTBC) for sexually abused children in South Africa. Psychotrauma as a result of child abuse is a ubiquitous reality in this country. Considering the collectivistic culture of South Africa, relationships with peers are important, especially at the developmental stage of school going children. Yet, there is not much research done to the role of peer attachment patterns of traumatized children in South-Africa. In this research, the role of CEAT in peer attachment patterns of traumatized children was studied in terms of three domains: trust, communication and alienation, as suggested by Armsden and Greenberg (1987). Methods: The revised version of the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA-R) (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987) was used for quantitative measures of peer attachment. 17 children aged 8 to 12 were randomly assigned to a control, (n = 7), and an experimental, (n = 10) group. The questionnaires were administered prior and post to the interventions. Qualitative data gained in this research include observations of 10 CEAT sessions and an interview with a social worker. Results: No significant differences were found between the groups and measurement times on the three domains of peer attachment. The qualitative data indicated increased effects of trust and communication attachment behaviors and decreased alienated behaviors over the course of the CEAT sessions. Conclusions: The qualitative results of this study show effects of the CEAT program on peer attachment behaviors on several domains of peer attachment. The study project gave insight into some methodological constraints and obstacles regarding the execution of the program. Therefore, future research and improvement of the practicality of the CEAT program is recommended.