Male childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a traumatic experience that is prevalent, under-reported, and under-treated. CSA leaves males with feelings of shame, low self-esteem, and interpersonal problems, which put them at risk of developing mental health disorders that persist into adulthood. Although expressive arts therapy has been used as a treatment for trauma in children and adolescents, existing literature on the use of expressive arts with adult CSA survivors is limited to female survivors. The current study aims to explore the experiences of male CSA survivors who have participated in expressive arts therapy, including the effects that expressive arts has on their sense of self, relationships, and trauma symptoms. Participants (N=8) were recruited from the Greater Los Angeles area, and included in the study if they were male CSA survivors and had previously been in expressive arts therapy. A mixed-methods approach was used, using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) as the primary research approach, which generated emergent themes that were supported with concurrent measures, including the Trauma Symptom Checklist-40 and a demographics measure. Results suggested that male survivors perceived expressive arts to be a positive experience and useful tool in the therapeutic process. The study provided exploratory findings on the use of expressive arts as a way for male survivors to release emotions, find their voice, rediscover their self, reconnect interpersonally with others, and facilitate a sense of empowerment. Results also suggested that male survivors perceive judgment and limited art modalities to be negative experiences in expressive arts therapy. Since the sample included primarily ethnic minority men, this study also provided contributions to the literature on the use of expressive arts with ethnic minority male survivors. Due to these findings, it is recommended that further research be conducted on the use of expressive arts with male survivors.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Male sexual abuse victims -- Psychology; Art therapy
Date of Award
Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Hogg, Megan, "Studying the phenomenon of expressive arts with male survivors of childhood sexual abuse" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 960.