Recommended Measures for Drama Therapy Research

The NADTA Research Committee compiled a list of promising measures that could be used in drama therapy research. This list is a starting point for those interested in quantitative investigations of drama therapy who are in search of measures to aid in their research. 

Compilation of Measures for Drama Therapy Research

What is on this List?

Most of the measures on this list are self-report style instruments. We have also included some measures that were designed for informant-reporting (e.g. a parent responds about their child), and a few others are intended to capture observed behaviors.

For each measure listed there is a brief summary of information: measure name, short description, brief information on reliability and validity, populations with which the measure has been validated and/or used, and (in some cases) a link to a publicly available version of the measure.

How Do You Choose a Measure for Your Study?

This list is intended to be a helpful tool for beginning the search for appropriate measures for your quantitative or mixed methods drama therapy study. You can use the list as an introduction to validated measures in your area of interest. To get the most out of any measure you choose for a study, it is important to look beyond names, initial descriptions, and initial reports of reliability and validity, to determine if it is appropriate for the purposes and context of your study.

An ideal way to use this list of measures would be to begin with the particular variable or outcome of interest (e.g. wellbeing). From there, check to see if any measures listed have been used for the population of interest for your study (e.g. young adults). If you find a measure that interests you, do an online search of the measure name to learn more about its history and other studies that have used the measure. If you find yourself challenged by this process, the research committee can also help! (research@nadta.org)

Some helpful questions to ask yourself when choosing measures:

  • Does the measure content (not just its name) match with the specific outcome I hope to measure in my study?
  • Has the measure been validated and/or used with my population or with similar populations?
  • Are there considerations that will need to be addressed if this measure is used with my population (e.g. literacy, language, cultural values)?
  • Did other similar studies find results using this measure? 
  • Has the measure been used to successfully measure drama therapy or creative arts therapies outcomes? 

Please note that it is unlikely that you will find satisfactory answers to all of these questions for any one measure. The questions are merely meant to be a helpful guide.

How was the List Created?

NADTA Research Committee members compiled this non-exhaustive list by researching and reviewing measures that could be utilized in a drama therapy context. For measures to be included on the list, they needed to fit at least one of two primary criteria:

1) The measures either (a) have been used in existing drama therapy research OR (b) cover the themes of drama therapy efficacy/effectiveness research as identified by Armstrong, Frydman, and Wood (in press), including: emotional & behavioural symptoms; empathy; sense of self & identity; social skills & social interactions; stigma; and wellbeing.  

2) The measures have some documented evidence of their validity* and reliability.

*A note on validity

It is important to use validated measures. Validity is what helps us be as confident as possible that the instruments we use are capturing what we set out to measure. With that said, a measure’s validity is not inherent; rather it is determined based on a pre-defined set of criteria aimed at evaluating whether the measure is effective in capturing what it is intended to measure. Just because one study found evidence that a measure is valid, does not necessarily mean that the measure is appropriate for use in all situations and with all populations. For instance, a measure that was validated with a sample of non-clinical undergraduate students may not work as well, or in the same way, with a sample of older adults with dementia. Similarly, a validated measure intended to capture the perspective-taking aspects of empathy may not be at all effective at capturing other aspects of empathy.

We invite members of the NADTA community to provide contributions, feedback, and recommendations for the further development of this document. To contribute to the developing discussion, please contact the NADTA Research Chair at: research@nadta.org


References:

Armstrong, C. R., Frydman, J., & Wood, S. (in press). Prominent themes in drama therapy effectiveness research. Drama Therapy Review.