The magical means of building closeness and community during the college transition: A novel arts-based positive intervention

Bagienski, Steven and Kuhn, Gustav. 2021. The magical means of building closeness and community during the college transition: A novel arts-based positive intervention. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, ISSN 2326-5523 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

The arts have long been intertwined with wellbeing and empirical attention is shifting back toward the wellbeing value of the arts. One art that has been applied in educational contexts but received limited empirical attention is that of achieving the impossible, namely, the art of performing magic. While research is young, reviews on the wellbeing-value of magic have revealed theoretical frameworks suggesting its potential to enhance self-processes and social aspects. These aspects are especially important for university students to have a psychologically healthy transition to university life because it involves integrating one’s adult identity with the self, which can challenge one’s self-esteem. Thus, the present study investigated how community magic workshops affect self-esteem, wellbeing, closeness, and sense of belonging for first-year university students in London. Students were allocated to either magic workshops where they learned magic tricks or mindfulness workshops during their first university term. Measures were taken at baseline, post-intervention, and a one-month follow-up. Both groups improved on all measures but students in magic workshops perceived greater benefits than the mindfulness group. Results provide preliminary evidence for using magic-based workshops as an appealing, preventative intervention that enhances the college experience for first-year students.

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“©American Psychological Association, [2022]. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. The final article is available, upon publication, at:”


emerging adulthood; community belonging; magic tricks; self-esteem; student wellbeing

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December 2021Accepted

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Date Deposited:

22 Mar 2022 09:24

Last Modified:

23 Mar 2022 16:57

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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