For centuries, women around the globe have made crafts to support their families, preserve their cultural heritage and for enjoyment. Now researchers report crafts, specifically jewelry-making, can pack important psychological and spiritual benefits.
The study, by Carolyn Adams-Price and Bernard Steinman of Mississippi State University, involved 29 females, aged 31 to 64 years. Participants were recruited through ads placed in two large online jewelry-making discussion groups, the majority of whose members came from the United States and Canada.
The researchers reported their findings in the International Journal of Aging & Human Development Vol. 65, (4), 2007.
According to researchers, all participants reported jewelry-making had positive psychological benefits.
Validation from others topped the list of benefits for the majority of participants. "It brought a new world with new people," one woman said. "I received support and compliments from my friends," another woman reported.
For 24 per cent of participants, jewelry-making enhanced a sense of well-being with increased feelings of happiness and self-worth. One woman felt refreshed emotionally and mentally. Another said she derived immense satisfaction from jewelry-making.
A similar number of participants (24 per cent) said jewelry-making offered opportunities for relaxation. As one woman put it:
It relaxes me, relieves stress. When I get in the mode, I can tune out everything else around me, go off into my own little world, and forget, at least for a while, any worries of the day. I think it also helps keep my mind stimulated, learning new techniques and such.
Another group of participants (24 per cent) reported jewelry-making provided a sense of accomplishment. "I am doing what I am meant to be doing," one woman said. Another reported that she was mastering a new technique.
Finally, jewelry-making provided a creative outlet for 20 per cent of participants, according to researchers.
In addition to the psychological benefits, 22 out of 29 participants reported spiritual benefits from jewelry-making. These benefits included feeling connected to God (46 per cent), a sense of pride and happiness (32 per cent) and help reflecting on life’s meaning (27 per cent).
This study echoes findings of the 2006 Creativity and Aging Study, led by Gene Cohen. Cohen’s study suggests arts program may support physical, mental and emotional well-being.