Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Fine Arts


Painting & Drawing

Research Sponsor

Laura Vinnedge

First Reader

Arnold Tunstall

Second Reader

Sherry Simms


In times of stress or trauma, each person has their own means of coping. There are countless ways to deal with stressors in a positive way, such as journaling, problem solving, or meditation. However, many distressed individuals turn to negative, or maladaptive, coping mechanisms. These are behaviors which seem to help ease distress in the moment, but prove to have negative consequences. While they vary greatly, some common maladaptive coping mechanisms include substance and tobacco use, self-harm, disordered eating, violence, and isolation.

This project aims to shed light on the subject of maladaptive coping mechanisms, as it is an increasingly wide-spread issue all over the world. Each image is accompanied by quotations from the subjects, which offer some insight into the mind of a person dealing with these behaviors. The goal is to express the individuality and unique value of each of subject. People who struggle with behavioral psychoses are often reduced to their vices while their character is disregarded. By creating a series of portraits from case studies of real people shouldering the stigma of these behaviors, I hope to facilitate a dialogue about the prevalence of these issues and the judgements we tend to make towards them.

Included in

Painting Commons