The relevance of cultural arts practices to the psychosocial well-being of adolescents affected by violence in Trinidad and Tobago
This research focuses on the relevance of cultural arts practices to the psychosocial wellbeing of adolescents affected by violence in Trinidad and Tobago. Previous research identified the need for further inquiry into the use of sustainable interventions with youth in communities affected by poverty and violence (Ryan et al., 1997), since adolescents exposed to violence experience cumulative negative effects, and often display violence and delinquency themselves (Benedini & Fagan, 2018; Foote, 2010; Office of the SRSG on Violence against Children, 2016; Savahl et al., 2013). This research seeks to understand the psychosocial effects of community violence on the wellbeing of adolescents as well as the therapeutic value of cultural arts practices for affected adolescents. It explores the development of approaches to art as therapy, to understand how the psychosocial wellbeing of adolescents might be enhanced. This participatory ethnography utilizes mixed qualitative methods of data collection with students and teachers at a school affected by community and school violence. The relevance of cultural arts practices to the psychosocial wellbeing of adolescents is a complex area of inquiry, given the diversity of the population and the historical and social context of a community affected by violence. Findings that impact the psychosocial wellbeing of adolescents and any implications of these for the fields of art therapy and research on community violence are discussed.