Drawing on the arts to enhance salutogenic coping with health-related stress and loss

Ephrat Huss, Tali Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The connection between art therapy and specific theories of positive psychology such as Antonovsky's theory of salutogenic sense of coherence (SOC) has been less articulated in the literature. This paper draws a methodological connection between art therapy and SOC, that is, meaning, manageability and comprehensibility, as the components of coping. This theoretical and methodological connection is then explored with a group of participants dealing with the health-stress of cancer. Method: We conducted a large-scale, qualitative study that included fifty transcribed hours of thematically analyzed arts processes and one hundred art works, used to explore salutogenic theory within a support group for recovering oncological patients. Results: The results point to the arts as including mechanisms that enhance meaning, manageability, and comprehensibility in an embodied and synergetic way. The art makes it possible both to separate and to 'fill' these three components, while on the other hand, integrating them into a cyclical element. We outline theoretical and methodological implications of understanding art therapy as a methodology to enact and concretize positive psychology theories, as well as presenting a protocol for using arts to enhance salutogenic coping in the context of health-related stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1612
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberSEP
StatePublished - 25 Sep 2018


  • Art therapy
  • Group work
  • Oncological care
  • Positive psychology
  • Salutogenic theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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