THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ASPECTS OF CREATIVITY AND RESPONSE TO STRESSFUL LIFE EVENTS

MARY JAMES, Fordham University

Abstract

This study was designed to examine life events as stressors and the role that selected variables might play in moderating the effects of such stressors. Several qualities strongly associated with creativity were selected to be measured as individual characteristics that contribute to adaptive responses to stressful life events: Ego strength, openness to experience, confidence in one's own resources, and verbal skills related to flexibility, originality, and the ability to link seemingly unrelated information. Instruments to measure these aspects of creativity were the Ego Strength Scale, the Experience Inquiry, the Generalized Expectancy for Success Scale, the Alternate Uses Test, and the Remote Associates Test. To identify life events that might have been antecedents to stress, the Life Experiences Survey was used; and manifestations of stress were identified by symptoms of psychological distress reported on the 22-Item Screening Score.^ Subjects were 180 students at two campuses of Fordham University, a heterogeneous sample in terms of class level, academic major, on- or off-campus residence, work status, and race. The full sample was examined in terms of correlations between measures of psychological distress and measures of qualities associated with creativity, as well as in differences between means on measures of qualities associated with creativity for subjects who were nonsymptomatic or symptomatic. A subsample who had undergone a high level of negative life change in the previous year was contrasted on differences between means on measures of aspects of creativity.^ Results revealed a highly significant relationship between psychological well-being and ego strength and between psychological well-being and expectancy of success. Verbal skills denoting originality and ability for remote association were significantly different between nonsymptomatic and symptomatic subjects in the full sample but not significant in contrasting nonsymptomatic and symptomatic subjects who had undergone a high level of negative life change. Openness to experience was a significant factor for the subsample only in combination with ego strength, indicating that openness was most productive if there was an ego strong enough to provide a good balance of permissiveness and restraint.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

MARY JAMES, "THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ASPECTS OF CREATIVITY AND RESPONSE TO STRESSFUL LIFE EVENTS" (January 1, 1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8213243.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213243

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