Breast cancer surgery as expressed in self figure drawings

Ziva Ariela Barel - Shoshani*, Shulamith Kreitler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined expression of distress and changes in self-perception in breast cancer patients who underwent different surgeries (lumpectomy/mastectomy) via analysis of their self-figure drawings. It was assumed that the two types of surgery would affect their bodies differently and hence also their body- and self-image. The Machover Draw-A-Person test was administered twice to 72 survivors (47 underwent conserving surgery and 25 a mastectomy): first, they were asked to draw themselves in the present; then they were asked to draw themselves as they remembered themselves pre-illness. The expressions in self-figure drawings were compared using sixteen indicators. The results show that 11 of 16 indices clearly indicated differences in self-perception between the pre-illness past self and the self-perception of the present self, in women who underwent different breast surgeries. The indices were: breast, mouth, height, body outline, eyes, hair, feminine figure, and palms/hands. No differences were found for 5 indices: lower body, head outline, feminine clothes and accessories, feminine body, pointed fingers. Conclusions: It is suggested that the projective DAP test be used as an aid for identifying changes in features of self-portrayal. It could also be applied when planning an intervention for the alleviation of distress via structured supportive care in breast cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101841
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • DAP draw a person
  • Lumpectomy
  • Mastectomy
  • Projective tool
  • Self-figure drawing
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Breast cancer surgery as expressed in self figure drawings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this