Exploring Barriers to and Drivers of Participatory Arts Engagement in Early Adolescence

Kelleher-Clarke, Alicia; Bartoli Jones, Alice and Omigie, Diana. 2023. Exploring Barriers to and Drivers of Participatory Arts Engagement in Early Adolescence. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, ISSN 1931-3896 [Article] (In Press)

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Abstract or Description

Participatory arts engagement is argued to afford an array of prosocial and positive wellbeing outcomes across the lifespan. However, young people may face barriers to engagement that hinder access to the arts’ putative benefits. We explored the barriers to participatory arts engagement that early adolescents face and the extent to which wellbeing levels are associated with the perception of such barriers. We also explored associations between adolescents’ individual differences in personality, curiosity and wellbeing and their relative interest in different types of art activities. Participants completed questionnaires that measured their perceived barriers to engagement and their individual differences in personality, curiosity, and well-being. They also completed items measuring their interest in taking up a list of arts opportunities that varied in terms of affordance for solitary creativity, performing to an audience, or working with others in a group. Results showed a key barrier to arts engagement to be related to motivation. Specifically, participants reported relatively low levels of desire and drive to engage. Critically, however, we found a relationship between participants’ interest in taking up particular arts opportunities and their patterns of personality and curiosity. Finally, our data revealed low wellbeing to be associated with reduced interest in arts activities involving performing to an audience and working with others. Taken together, our results speak to the potential relevance - if art engagement’s putative benefits are to be exploited - of tailoring arts opportunities to young people’s personalities and interests, and of facilitating entry points for young people with poorer wellbeing.

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“©American Psychological Association, [2023]. 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: https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/aca/index”


Barriers, Adolescent arts engagement, Wellbeing, Curiosity, Personality

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23 January 2023Accepted
25 May 2023Published Online

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Date Deposited:

24 Feb 2023 12:27

Last Modified:

31 May 2023 07:30

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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