Experiences and Impacts of visual art-based interventions on perinatal well-being: An integrative review

Harris, Joanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5369-1309, Nowland, Rebecca orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-4326-2425, Peart, Jayneequa and Thomson, Gill orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-3392-8182 (2023) Experiences and Impacts of visual art-based interventions on perinatal well-being: An integrative review. International Journal of Art Therapy . ISSN 1745-4832

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/17454832.2023.2208208


The first 1000 days (conception to 2 years postnatal) are crucial for parent and infant health. Visual art-based interventions are used to promote positive parental mental health, but currently, there are no comprehensive insights into how these interventions can support new parents during this critical perinatal period.

To synthesise research on visual art-based interventions designed to promote parents’ mental well-being during the first 1000 days to understand if and how these interventions made a difference and to identify any barriers or facilitators to parents’ engagement.

A keyword search of five databases (CINAHL, Embase, Medline, PsychInfo and Scopus), searches via Google Scholar and backward and forward chaining were undertaken. Quality appraisal was conducted using design appropriate tools, and a narrative thematic approach was used.

4417 hits were identified, and 10 studies met eligibility criteria and were included. Interventions were classified as art therapy (n = 8) or creative arts (n = 2), and overall, a lack of robust evidence was highlighted. Six themes were constructed that describe the psychosocial impacts and experiences of the interventions and relational and contextual factors that influenced parents’ engagement. While both types of interventions had benefits, art therapy had the most profound impacts. Challenges regarding sustainability of impacts and facilitator skills were noted for creative arts, rather than art therapy interventions.

While art therapy interventions promote positive parental mental health and well-being, high-quality evidence is needed.

Implications for future research
More robust evaluation designs to identify mechanisms of effectiveness in art therapy interventions are needed.

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