The beneficial attributes of visual art-making in cancer care: An integrative review

G. Ennis, M. Kirshbaum, N. Waheed

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    We seek to understand what is known about the use of visual art-making for people who have a cancer diagnosis, and to explore how art-making may help address fatigue in the cancer care context. Art-making involves creating art or craft alone or in a group and does not require an art-therapist as the emphasis is on creativity rather than an overt therapeutic intention. An integrative review was undertaken of qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method studies on art-making for people who have cancer, at any stage of treatment or recovery. An adapted version of Kaplan's Attention Restoration Theory (ART) was used to interpret the themes found in the literature. Fifteen studies were reviewed. Nine concerned art-making programmes and six were focused on individual, non-facilitated art-making. Review results suggested that programme-based art-making may provide participants with opportunities for learning about self, support, enjoyment and distraction. Individual art-making can provides learning about self, diversion and pleasure, self-management of pain, a sense of control, and enhanced social relationships. When viewed through the lens of ART, art-making can be understood as an energy-restoring activity that has the potential to enhance the lives of people with a diagnosis of cancer.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere12663
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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