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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00716

Initiating change of people with criminal justice involvement through participation in a drama project: an exploratory study

 Adrian P. Mundt1, 2*,  Pamela Marín2,  Caroline Gabrysch3, 4*, Carolina Sepúlveda5, Jacqueline Roumeau6 and  Paul Heritage7
  • 1Diego Portales University, Chile
  • 2San Sebastián University, Chile
  • 3Charité Medical University of Berlin, Germany
  • 4University of Chile, Chile
  • 5Academy of Christian Humanism University, Chile
  • 6Other, Chile
  • 7School of English and Drama, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Innovative and interdisciplinary approaches are needed to improve mental health and psychosocial outcomes of people with criminal justice involvement and their families. Aim of the study was to assess effects of the participation in a theatre project on the mental health problems of people with criminal justice involvement and relatives.
We conducted structured diagnostic interviews and in-depth qualitative interviews with five participants performing Shakespeare’s Richard III in Chile. Three participants had been imprisoned prior to the project and two were the parents of a person who died in a prison fire. Qualitative interviews followed a topic guide. Data were transcribed and a 6-phase approach for thematic analysis of the data was used.
Substance use disorder or major depression were identified in all the participants. Participation in the theatre project was experienced by the respondents as having a positive effect on the mental health conditions. The research registered the positive experiences of role identification, emotional expression, commitment with group processes, improved skills to socially interact, to be heard by the general public and society, and positive perceptions of the audience (including relatives).
The study raises the possibility that there may be improvements of depression and substance use problems through the participation of people with criminal justice involvement in a drama project. Wider scale research is recommended on the possible effects. The approach may be an alternative to psychotherapy and medication for some individuals.

Keywords: Drama, Art Therapy, Prison population, Mental Disorders, Addiction, Substance Use Disorders (SUDs)

Received: 06 Apr 2019; Accepted: 06 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Mundt, Marín, Gabrysch, Sepúlveda, Roumeau and Heritage. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Adrian P. Mundt, Diego Portales University, Santiago, 8320000, Santiago Metropolitan Region (RM), Chile,
Mx. Caroline Gabrysch, Charité Medical University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany,