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HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Arts activity and well-being for visually impaired military veterans: a narrative discussion of current knowledge

May, 2021
Article:

This literature review aimed to explore what is known about art engagement in veterans with visual impairments. The literature review found no research addressing this topic and as such makes recommendations for research to explore if, and how, holistic well-being in this population may be impacted by engagement with visual art activities.

Abstract

Objectives The objective of this study was to offer an overview of literature relating to the topic of arts as activity within the context of military and veteran health and to consider the implications of current knowledge on future research with visually impaired veterans. Study design A search for literature addressing the topic of visual art activities with visually impaired veterans was undertaken. No research addressing this topic was identified. A review of literature on the related topics of mental health and well-being in military veterans, visual impairment and mental health and well-being, and art therapy for veteran populations was carried out to offer an overview of current knowledge. Results While there is growing evidence of the benefits of arts engagement among both general and military populations, the role of the visual arts in the everyday lives of broader veteran samples, and the impact of these activities on holistic well-being, remains underexplored. The current article highlights the need for art as activity to be differentiated from art as therapy and argues that the former might offer a tool to positively impact the holistic well-being of visually impaired veterans. Conclusions Future research relating to the use of visual art activities in the context of veteran health and well-being should endeavour to explore the potential impacts of engagement on holistic well-being. Research is needed to build on anecdotal evidence of the positive impact of arts engagement on visually impaired veterans by systematically exploring if, and how, holistic well-being in this population may be impacted by engagement with visual art activities.

Full Reference

CASTLE, C. L., ENGWARD, H. & KERSEY, T. 2021. Arts activity and well-being for visually impaired military veterans: a narrative discussion of current knowledge. Public Health [Online], 194.

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