An Analysis and Comparison of Research Investigating the Effects of Dance on the Self-Concept and Self-Esteem of the Participants

Article excerpt

Sandra Minton, University of Northern Colorado

The eruption of violence by youth has been blamed on the fact that individuals committing such crimes are depressed, have a low self-concept, or self-esteem. Self-concept is defined as the perception of total self (Shavelson, 1982; Byrne, 1983), while self-esteem is a person's view of their self-worth (Battle, 1992). The problem was to use a reductionist process to analyze research on the effects of dance on self-concept and self-esteem, identifying common themes in this body of work. A total of twenty-four studies (1973-99) were included in this analysis with participants from a variety of educational levels. This group of studies involved adults not in school, differently abled, and the elderly. The dance forms included were: creative/ explorative, ethnic/folk, aerobic and ballroom, plus specially designed dance curricula. Some research also included classes with a mixture of dance forms. Investigations varied in participant numbers and length of time. Both experimental and interpretive work was analyzed. O ne predominant theme, which emerged, was the positive effect of creative or explorative dance on the variables studied. (Puretz, 1973; Oshuns, 1977; Venson, 1977; Riley, 1984; Berryman-Miller, 1988; McConnell, 1988; Allen, 1989 and Minton, 1999). Research involving aerobic dance (Kamal and Blais, 1995); ethnic/folk dance (Trujillo, 1979); and ballroom dance (Taylor, 1977) also produced significant increases in, or correlations with the variables--a result possibly due to the sense of connectedness to others experienced when participating in these three dance forms. …