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Home > About > News and Events > News > Field News > DOJ and NEA Release Overview of Arts-Based Juvenile Justice Research

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DOJ and NEA Release Overview of Arts-Based Juvenile Justice Research

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Jun 14, 2016

This week the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) released a literature review entitled “Arts-Based Programs and Arts Therapies for At-Risk, Justice-Involved, and Traumatized Youths.”  The report, which was compiled with assistance from the NEA’s Office of Research & Analysis, details a broad range of research that is focused on arts-based programs, juvenile justice, and traumatized youths.

According to the literature review, “the arts can provide an outlet for addressing emotional and/or problem behaviors through opportunities to learn new skills, develop new talents, and express thoughts and ideas in creative and therapeutic ways…Similarly, for youths dealing with trauma or victimization (including exposure to violence), the arts can help them to cope with painful experiences by fostering resiliency…Creating art can strengthen a youth’s problem-solving skills, autonomy, sense of purpose, and social competence. Moreover, art can help encourage positive emotions and strength, allowing youths to view themselves as survivors and not as victims.”

After detailing the psychological theories that support arts role in youth development (i.e., cognitive behavioral theory and positive youth development), the review examines “outcome evidence.” According to the authors, “although the research literature has identified generally positive relationships between arts participation and social–emotional skills among children and youths…more studies are needed to clarify the potential impacts of arts interventions for at-risk, justice-involved, and traumatized youths.”

Read the full report here.

This resource brought to you by the National Guild for Community Arts Education.