The relationship of social, personal, and academic growth between theatre and non-theatre arts students : a comparative study

Kristy Burchard, California State University, Monterey Bay

Thesis (M.A.) Teacher Education Department


This paper discusses the results of a systematic research design to determine academic, personal and social developmental differences between two adolescent groups, one group that had taken part in at least four theatre arts workshops and a demographically comparable group that had not attended theses workshops. I utilized Ex Post Facto research, which is a retrospective research study that allowed me to seek a possible and plausible relationship between these two groups. Both groups answered a 30-question survey. The measured outcome fell into one of three categories: Academic development, personal and social development. The questions posed were related to making friends, peer pressure, leadership characteristics, academic future and attitude towards their commitment to education, friends and extra-curricular activities. Conclusions were drawn from these research findings indicating that extra-curricular theatre arts activities do have an important effect on adolescents in this age range. The main difference between the two groups was that the theatre arts group displayed more confidence in all three categories by their responses to the majority of the questions (79%). This indicates that these students are decisive, positive, and engaged in what they are doing in school and in their extra-curricular programs.