Relationships between creativity and psychopathology: an evaluation and interpretation of the evidence.Genet Psychol Monogr. 1981 May; 103(Second half):261-324.GP
An age-old belief links creativity with psychopathology. The present paper examines the degree of scientific support for this belief and proposes a scheme for interpretation of the evidence within a framework of multiple causation. First, three major theories are considered; these differ fundamentally regarding whether creative ability and/or motivation may be associated with psychopathology. Next, creativity research involving cognitive, personality, motivational, and environmental variables is examined in this theoretical context. Results do not emerge as definitive for any one type of position. It is suggested instead that the origins of creativity may be heterogeneous; separate explanations may be required for distinct S subgroups, to potentially include subgroups within traditional psychiatric diagnostic categories. Epidemiological research is then considered. Despite methodological shortcomings, this work as a whole appears to support elevated levels of psychopathology among recognized creators compared to the general population, and familial (and perhaps even genetic) patterns of creativity-psychopathology association. Affective psychosis is particularly prominent across studies although design features limit full consideration of other pathologies. Some etiological hypotheses are then indicated within the framework of a proposed, inclusive classification scheme. Finally, considerations for further research are discussed, and the potential importance of continued inquiry in this area is emphasized.