AccScience Publishing / AC / Volume 1 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.36922/ac.0337
Cite this article
Journal Browser
Volume | Year
News and Announcements
View All

From the eyes to the heart through the collection of art images: A preliminary study on the traumatic symptoms and psychological well-being of orphans of femicide

Cristian Di Gesto1* Conny Leporatti2 Elisa Chiappinelli3
Show Less
1 Department of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures and Psychology, University of Florence, 50135, Florence, Italy
2 Institute of Family Therapy, Centro Co.Me.Te. Empoli, 50053, Florence, Italy
3 Edela Association; Working Group for the Rights of Children and Adolescents, Order of Psychologists of Tuscany, 50127, Florence, Italy
Submitted: 16 March 2023 | Accepted: 26 July 2023 | Published: 23 August 2023
© 2023 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC-by the license) ( )

Intimate partner homicide refers to the murder of family members, often women, resulting in trauma for the surviving family members. Although extensive research has focused on establishing predictors of gender-based violence, little is known about interventions for orphans of femicide. The present study aimed to investigate the associations between the use of art images, the perception of traumatic symptoms, and overall psychological well-being. This study involved 84 orphans of femicide who were subjected to viewing the images of the “Trauma” and “Resources” categories of the Collection of Art Images and were administered a questionnaire to assess the quality of experience viewing the art images, the impact of traumatic events, the frequency and severity of traumatic symptoms, and their psychological well-being. The results showed that the frequency and severity of traumatic symptoms were negatively associated with psychological well-being. In addition, the perceived quality of the experience with art images exhibited a positive association with psychological well-being while displaying a negative correlation with both the perceived severity of symptoms and the intensity of traumatic events. The experience of trauma appeared to reduce the participants’ levels of psychological well-being, consequently exerting a negative impact on their life satisfaction. Moreover, the quality of the experience with art images acts as a buffering factor and capable of attenuating the perception of both the frequency and severity of traumatic symptoms as well as the intensity of traumatic experiences. This, in turn, fosters heightened levels of psychological well-being. Photo-elicitation tools, such as art images, appear to facilitate individuals’ exploration of their emotional experience, thereby enhancing meta-representative skills concerning trauma and favoring the integrative self and “emotional catharsis”.

Collection of art images
Psychological well-being
  1. Borghi L, 2011, An interesting object of study and a essential theoretical node: Sources, transmission of memory and history of the feminist movement. Genesis, 10: 2.


  1. Radford J, Russell DE, editors, 1992, Femicide: The Politics of Woman Killing. NY: Twayne Publishers.


  1. Lagarde, M, 1996, The multidimensionality of the category gender and feminism. Methodology for Gender Study, 3: 48–71.


  1. Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT), 2021, Il Numero Delle Vittime e le Forme Della Violenza. Available from: violenza-dentro-e-fuori-la-famiglia/numero-delle-vittime-e-forme-di-violenza [Last accessed on 2023 Mar 15].


  1. World Health Organization, 2021, Violence Against Women. Available from: fact-sheets/detail/violence-against-women [Last accessed on 2023 Mar 15].


  1. Breiding MJ, Armour BS, 2015, The association between disability and intimate partner violence in the United States. Ann Epidemiol, 25: 455–457.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022, Intimate Partner Violence. Available from: violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html [Last accessed on 2023 Mar 15].


  1. Stöckl H, Devries K, Rotstein A, et al., 2013, The global prevalence of intimate partner homicide: A systematic review. Lancet, 382: 859–865.


  1. Hernandez JM, Munyan K, Kennedy E, et al., 2021, Traumatic stress among frontline American nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey study. Traumatology, 27: 413–418.


  1. American Psychiatric Association, 2013, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. United States: American Psychiatric Association.


  1. Feminicide Census, 2021, At Least 16 Serving or Former Police Officers have Killed Women. Why does this Matter? Available from: 16-serving-or-former-police-officers-have-killed-women-why-does-this-matter [Last accessed on 2023 Mar 15].


  1. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung-IPS, 2021, How to Tackle the Femicide Epidemic. Available from: https://www.ips-journal. eu/topics/democracy-and-society/how-to-tackle-the-femicide-epidemic-5568 [Last accessed on 2023 Mar 15].


  1. Mannell J, Minckas N, Burgess R, et al., 2022, Does experiencing a traumatic life event increase the risk of intimate partner violence for young women? A cross-sectional analysis and structural equation model of data from the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures intervention in South Africa. BMJ Open, 12: e051969.


  1. Ashina H, Eigenbrodt AK, Seifert T, et al., 2021, Post-traumatic headache attributed to traumatic brain injury: Classification, clinical characteristics, and treatment. Lancet Neurol, 20: 460–469.


  1. Aljaberi MA, Lee KH, Alareqe NA, et al., 2022, Rasch modeling and multilevel confirmatory factor analysis for the usability of the impact of event scale-revised (IES-R) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare (Basel), 10: 1858.


  1. Herman JL, 1992, Complex PTSD: A syndrome in survivors of prolonged and repeated trauma. J Trauma Stress, 5: 377–391.


  1. Ryff CD, 1989, Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. J Pers Soc Psychol, 57: 1069–1081.


  1. Leporatti C, 2020, The colors of light-collection of Art Images for clinical use and in the helping relationship. In: Toscani T, editor. Relational Psychology and Complex Systems. Bologna: In Riga Edizioni, p. 1–178.


  1. Leporatti C, 2016, Textures of light: Use of art images in individual and couple therapy with a system-relational orientation. Psicobiettivo, 1: 137–152.


  1. Lande RG, Tarpley V, Francis JL, et al., 2010, Combat trauma art therapy scale. Arts Psychother, 37: 42–45.


  1. Nan JK, Hinz LD, Lusebrink VB, 2021, Clay art therapy on emotion regulation: Research, theoretical underpinnings, and treatment mechanisms. In: The Neuroscience of Depression. United States: Academic Press, p. 431–442.


  1. Malchiodi CA, editor, 2015, Neurobiology, creative interventions, and childhood trauma. In: Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children. New York City: The Guilford Press, p. 3–23.


  1. Kassam-Adams N, Butler L, 2017, What do clinicians caring for children need to know about pediatric medical traumatic stress and the ethics of trauma-informed approaches? AMA J Ethics, 19: 793–801.


  1. Thomas V, 2015, Using Mental Imagery in Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Guide to More Inclusive Theory and Practice. NY: Routledge.


  1. Fernández-Cao ML, Camilli-Trujillo C, Fernández- Escudero L, 2020, Projecta: An art-based tool in trauma treatment. Front Psychol, 11: 568948.


  1. Hagman G, Press CM, 2010, Between aesthetics, the coconstruction of empathy, and the clinical. Psychoanal Inq, 30: 207–221.


  1. Rademaker RL, Pearson J, 2012, Training visual imagery: Improvements of metacognition, but not imagery strength. Front Psychol, 3: 224.


  1. Dimaggio G, Montano A, Popolo R, et al., 2013, Terapia Metacognitiva Interpersonale dei Disturbi di Personalità. Milano: Cortina Publisher.


  1. Abbing A, Ponstein A, van Hooren S, et al., 2018, The effectiveness of art therapy for anxiety in adults: A systematic review of randomised and non-randomised controlled trials. PLoS One, 13: e0208716.


  1. Wood MJ, Molassiotis A, Payne S, 2011, What research evidence is there for the use of art therapy in the management of symptoms in adults with cancer? A systematic review. Psychooncology, 20: 135–145.


  1. Jin MK, Chung U, Hazen N, 2018, Attachment representations of school-aged Korean children: Comparing family drawing and narrative assessments in a clinical and a community sample. Attach Hum Dev, 20: 43–61.


  1. Weiser J, 2010, Foto personali e foto di famiglia come strumento per la terapia. Il “Come, Cosa e Perché” delle tecniche di FotoTerapia. PsicoArt Ri Arte Psicol, 1: 1-43.


  1. Krauss RE, 1994, The Optical Unconscious. Cambridge: MIT Press.


  1. Holmes EA, Geddes JR, Colom F, et al., 2008, Mental imagery as an emotional amplifier: Application to bipolar disorder. Behav Res Ther, 46: 1251–1258.


  1. Leporatti C, Di Gesto C, 2021, Tell Me What You See, And I’ll Tell You How You Look. The Use of the Art Images Test (AIT) in the Context of Eating Disorders: Examining the Psychometric Properties of the Food Category’s Images (FCI) among Young Italian Women. In: XIV Congresso Nazionale Della Società Italiana per lo Studio dei Disturbi del Comportamento Alimentare (SISDCA) 2021 (Ri) formulare il Sistema per la Prevenzione e la Cura dei DA&O. La Ricerca Scientifica al Servizio Della Qualità Delle Cure, 2021.


  1. Craig SL, Eaton AD, Kirkland A, et al., 2021, Towards an integrative self: A digital photo elicitation study of resilience among key marginalized populations of sexual and gender minority youth. Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being, 16: 1961572.


  1. Padgett DK, Smith BT, Derejko KS, et al., 2013, A picture is worth…? Photo elicitation interviewing with formerly homeless adults. Qual Health Res, 23: 1435–1444.


  1. Horowitz M, Wilner N, Alvarez W, 1979, Impact of event scale: A measure of subjective stress. Psychosom Med, 41: 209–218.


  1. Davidson JR, Book SW, Colket JT, et al., 1997, Assessment of a new self-rating scale for post-traumatic stress disorder. Psychol Med, 27: 153–160.


  1. Sirigatti S, Stefanile C, Giannetti E, et al., 2009, Assessment of factor structure of Ryff’s psychological well-being scales in italian adolescents. Boll Psicol Appl, 259: 30–50.


  1. Van Dillen LF, Papies EK, 2015, From distraction to mindfulness: Psychological and neural mechanisms of attention strategies in self-regulation. In: Handbook of Biobehavioral Approaches to Self-regulation. New York: Springer, p. 141–154.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Back to top
Arts & Communication, Electronic ISSN: 2972-4090 Published by AccScience Publishing