Date of Award

5-19-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)

Department

Liberal Studies

First Reader

Anne Turner

Second Reader

William Long

Abstract

Development of musical and dramatic arts skills strengthens psychological wellness within the at-risk population. The ability of the arts curriculum to promote psychological wellness is documented repeatedly in the premier research surveyed by two overarching compendia, Champions of Change and Critical Links. It is postulated that music and drama, specifically, promote positive behavioral change by enhancing or altering neurological pathways. Twelve developmental issues are examined in two broad categories: concepts of self and socialization. Each developmental issue is analyzed according to the aforementioned premier research. Musical and dramatic therapeutic responses, reflecting the conclusions reached by numerous researchers, are suggested for each targeted issue. A summary of the neurological support for these therapeutic responses concludes both the "concepts of self' and "socialization" sections. Contemporary research supports the assertion that arts education makes a difference. Future research focused on these neurological hypotheses is recommended, in addition to the suggestions from the sources cited.

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