Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Relief

In the recent article, “Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Management and Prevention—A Systematic Review” in Behavioral Sciences, 37 studies reviewed showcases the effectiveness of creative arts interventions in the management and prevention of stress.

The study found that stress was significantly reduced in 30 out of 37 studies overall (81.1%). A breakdown of the results showed that a higher percentage of effectiveness was achieved in studies conducted by creative arts therapists (11 out of 12, or 91.7%) vs. those conducted by others (19 out of 25, or 76%). Creative arts therapists are dually trained in the arts and mental health, and they use their art forms for achieving therapeutic goals.

Creative Arts Interventions for Stress Management and Prevention—A Systematic Review
by Lily Martin, Renate Oepen, Katharina Bauer, Alina Nottensteiner, Katja Mergheim, Harald Gruber, and Sabine C. Koch
Published in Behavioral Sciences on February 22, 2018


Stress is one of the world’s largest health problems, leading to exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, a weak immune system, or even organ damage. In Germany, stress-induced work absenteeism costs about 20 billion Euros per year. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Central Federal Association of the public Health Insurance Funds in Germany ascribes particular importance to stress prevention and stress management as well as health enhancing measures. Building on current integrative and embodied stress theories, Creative Arts Therapies (CATs) or arts interventions are an innovative way to prevent stress and improve stress management. CATs encompass art, music, dance/movement, and drama therapy as their four major modalities. In order to obtain an overview of CATs and arts interventions’ efficacy in the context of stress reduction and management, we conducted a systematic review with a search in the following data bases: Academic Search Complete, ERIC, Medline, Psyndex, PsycINFO and SocINDEX. Studies were included employing the PICOS principle and rated according to their evidence level. We included 37 studies, 73% of which were randomized controlled trials. 81.1% of the included studies reported a significant reduction of stress in the participants due to interventions of one of the four arts modalities.

To read the full article, click here.