Importance: Zentangle® is a self-help art modality purported to have repetitive, mindful, and meditative qualities. It can be a cost-effective intervention, but its effect on affective well-being has been underresearched.
Objective: To evaluate the immediate and 2-wk postintervention effects of Zentangle delivered by a certified Zentangle teacher on affective well-being in the general population.
Design: Two-armed parallel-groups pilot randomized controlled trial.
Participants: Thirty-eight participants from a nonclinical population.
Intervention: Participants were randomized into the Zentangle group, which participated in a 2-hr Zentangle class and were encouraged to practice for 2 wk, or the waitlist control group. Participants learned basic Zentangle principles and drew two Zentangles under the teacher’s instructions.
Outcomes and Measures: The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, 21-item Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and Self-Compassion Scale–Short Form were used to assess positive and negative affect; depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms; and self-compassion.
Results: Significant reductions in negative affect were found in the Zentangle group compared with the waitlist control group at both immediate and 2-wk postintervention assessments (ds = 1.04 and 0.79, respectively, p < .001). Participants who practiced Zentangle for >80 min per week had a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms and an improvement in self-compassion (ds = 0.84 and 0.24, ps < .05 and .005, respectively). No significant between-groups difference was found for other measures.
Conclusions and Relevance: Our results shed light on the effects of Zentangle on improving affective well-being in the general population. With sufficient practice, Zentangle can also help improve self-compassion and reduce anxiety.
What This Article Adds: The results of this study could provide information to determine whether Zentangle can be used as a tool in occupational therapy intervention to improve affective well-being.