Creative Arts Therapies Theses


Elise Moore

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Art in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling (MA)


Creative Arts Therapies

First Advisor

Laura Allen


Dance therapy, Developmental disabilities, Movment therapy


The purpose of this research study was to understand the role and impact of dance/movement therapy on friendships between adults with developmental disabilities. The primary question this study answered was: how does dance/movement therapy contribute to the formation and maintenance of friendships between adults with developmental disabilities? This study followed the single instrumental qualitative case study methodology and involved adult participants with developmental disabilities who were part of a day services program. The data were collected in the form of a research journal documenting signs of friendship during the sessions and interviews with group participants. The data were analyzed using sequential analysis, and themes identified as contributing to friendship development and maintenance included facilitating social connection, initiation, conflict resolution, a sense of belonging, and a shared positive experience. These themes with their explicit connection to dance/movement therapy provide an enriched understanding of the integral and unique role of dance/movement therapy in the development and maintenance of friendships. The dance/movement therapy interventions and concepts that are involved in the themes set dance/movement therapy apart from other therapeutic interventions for friendship development and maintenance for adults with developmental disabilities.