Effect of coloring on student stress levels


  • April Powell, CTRS, BRLS
  • Katlyn Alcorn, CTRS, BRLS
  • Kaitlin Lindsay, BRLS




coloring, stress, mandala, student, coping, meditative, stress reduction


The use of coloring as a form of therapy is relatively new and therefore there is limited research surrounding the topic. This study looked to increase the knowledge base surrounding this topic to better educate those who may find it useful, such as students, educators, or therapists. This study recruited participants aged 18-21 who were full time students at university living away from home. They were asked to complete a self-assessment of their stress levels before and after their participation in a stress induction procedure, as well as after participating in their assigned intervention for 20 minutes. There were three assigned treatments: mandala coloring, traditional coloring, and the control group. This study found statistically significant results supporting the mandala coloring group as an effective intervention for stress reduction. Although only the mandala pattern displayed statistically significant stress reduction, the traditional coloring pattern was able to provide some stress reduction to participants. The control group who sat passively for 20 minutes reported higher stress scores at the end of the study when compared to their initial baseline scores. The findings confirm that coloring is an effective form of therapy when it comes to reducing stress in the university student population.

Author Biographies

April Powell, CTRS, BRLS

Recreation and Leisure Studies, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

Katlyn Alcorn, CTRS, BRLS

Recreation and Leisure Studies, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.


Kaitlin Lindsay, BRLS

Recreation and Leisure Studies, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.


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How to Cite

Powell, CTRS, BRLS, A., Alcorn, CTRS, BRLS, K., & Lindsay, BRLS, K. (2017). Effect of coloring on student stress levels. American Journal of Recreation Therapy, 16(1), 9–16. https://doi.org/10.5055/ajrt.2017.0122