Evaluating the Effect of Interactive Art on Medical Students’ Psychological Wellbeing

a headshot of Euna Cho on a bench outdoors
Euna Cho

As a Program II student pursuing a degree in “The Arts of Communicating Mental Health,” I am interested in using art techniques to build a social support system focusing on self-expression, self-reflection, and stress relief. My research study examines the effect of interactive art in enhancing undergraduate and medical school student’s psychological well-being by providing a space for self-reflection and self-care.  

In Spring 2021, I have initiated a pilot study to evaluate the undergraduate students’ responses to interactive art. The virtual art exhibition encourages the audience to reflect on self and society as they engage with the artworks that metaphorically compare individuals to flowers. By incorporating the theme of flowers throughout the exhibition based on a timeline of life, the artworks convey the central message “Bloom to your potential” to motivate the audience. While the pilot study focused on mental health in college students, I will focus on the medical students as the target population for my Senior Capstone Project.  

In summer 2021, I have conducted a literature review on the topic of art therapy, mental health and visual art, art and emotion and social management, and healing and visual art. By utilizing PubMed and APA’s database, I have collected information on the relationship between arts and healing, interaction-based measurements, and opinions from the perspectives of artists, physicians, patients, and students. In addition, I have written an IRB amendment to include the following information. Based on the data from the preliminary study, I have refined the art and measurement tools after analyzing the data collected from the undergraduate psychology subject pool. Having created an assessment plan with modified scales and measurements, I reached out to organizations and departments at Duke University School of Medicine to recruit medical students as participants. 

I would love to express my gratitude to all my professors and mentors who have advised and supported me in this project. DSRF has provided me with an opportunity to make revisions to enhance my modules and prepare the future steps of my Senior Capstone Project. By collecting data from the medical students in Fall 2021 and writing a paper in Spring 2022, I will work towards graduating with distinction.