Anxiety indicators in human figure drawings of average children, ages five through twelve



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The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which children's anxieties may be ascertained through their human figure drawings (HFDs). The population of interest is average children between the ages of 5 through 12. For this purpose, the controversy between clinical and empirical points of view is discussed briefly. All experimental evidence available for three symbols (detail loss, distortion, and omission) traditionally considered by clinicians to evidence anxiety in HFDs is examined, in detail. Although the results of these empirical studies appear to support the clinical view of the symbols as anxiety indicators in HFDs in general, few of the works were carried out using the specific population of interest. It was concluded that findings pertaining to older or nonaverage individuals can not be assumed to apply to average children, ages 5 through 12. Instead, experiments using this population as subjects must be performed before the effectiveness of these indicators can be determined for them. A few recommendations to be incorporated into these future experiments are included.