Document Type

Honors Paper


Jefferson Singer

Publication Date



The present two-part study examined the effects of coloring mandalas on state anxiety reduction with considerations of duration spent coloring and Big-5 personality traits. It was hypothesized that coloring mandalas for 30 minutes would significantly reduce levels of state anxiety. There were three coloring conditions that were randomly assigned to 105 participants. Measures included a Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) pre- and post-test which assessed levels of state and trait anxiety, and a Big-Five Personality Scale that examined five main personality traits (Goldberg, 1992). Participants had up to 30 minutes to color their mandala before completing a post-intervention STAI. There were no differences across the three coloring conditions, but a paired samples t-test showed a significant reduction in state anxiety from Time 1 to Time 2. Bivariate correlations of personality factors with anxiety reduction, trait anxiety, and duration revealed a significant relationship among neuroticism, anxiety reduction, and duration within the “Easy” coloring condition. There was also a positive relationship in this condition between anxiety reduction and duration of coloring. A multiple regression analysis in the “Easy” condition predicting anxiety reduction was also examined. A second preliminary study was conducted to distinguish whether the coloring intervention was unique in its anxiety reduction effect. A comparison between coloring and puzzle-making revealed no significant difference in anxiety reduction between the two conditions.



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