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Abimbola Afolayan is a 2015 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Gargi Roysircar, EdD, Committee Chair
  • Gina Pasquale, PsyD, Committee Member
  • Porter Eagan, PsyD, Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

The issues of rising terrorism, violence, and scarcity of basic needs will increase in the coming decades, and children that need psychological services in disaster areas around the world will also increase (Alim, 2008). The study utilized the House-Tree-Person (HTP) projective test to examine the adaptation and maladaptation of Haitian children who lived in extreme urban poverty, broken infrastructure, and relocation camps in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. The 43 participants of the original archived data set provided 129 protocols of house, tree, and person drawings (Roysircar & Colvin, 2015). Out of that dataset, the present study used 39 HTP protocols from 13 Haitian child participants, ages 7 to 9 years old. The 39 HTP drawings protocols were coded using a Jungian Interpretative Design (Furth, 2002). These coded results were analyzed with a modified qualitative methodology of the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The Jungian Interpretative Design revealed adaptive (“tree has some fruits”) and maladaptive presentations (“the man is holding a machete in his left hand”), and an overall impression (“this person portrays a sense of agency and action”) of the drawings. Seven superordinate and subordinate clustered themes emerged from the IPA: Vulnerability and Powerlessness; Resiliency; Aggression; Well-Being; Sublimated idealization and Fantasy; Self-Efficacy and Agency; and Trauma. The superordinate and subordinate themes from the Haitian children’s drawings were compared with themes from two international HTP studies: an Israeli study (Nuttman-Shwartz, Huss, & Altman, 2010) of children who experienced forced re-settlement; and a Chinese study (Wang, Xu, & Wang, 2010) with children who experienced an earthquake (Wenchuan earthquake). The three studies’ participants and their stressful environment were comparable. Themes unique to Haitian participants included depiction of naked persons that indicated poverty and fruit-bearing trees in planters, indicating thriving despite insufficiency. The themes that the three studies had in common, called Common Global Factors (CGFs), were holes in the trunks of trees or damaged trees that indicated trauma. The implications of GCFs, culture-specific differences, and continuous trauma of children must be addressed in clinical assessment, treatment planning, and intervention of researchers/practitioners in international settings.

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