Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
The belief that creativity and madness are interrelated has endured across the centuries. Artists, poets, and philosophers have been perceived as special individuals blessed or cursed with "divine madness" beginning in the days of Socrates. Many of the great minds of classical western civilization have believed that artists are qualitatively different than average people (Becker, 2001). Psychology and psychiatry have addressed the creativity/madness question utilizing a wide variety of approaches. There are numerous review articles, psychobiographical works, empirical studies, and theoretical papers which attempt to determine the nature of creativity and how it relates to psychiatric functioning.
This study utilized meta-analytic techniques to examine the empirical body of literature addressing the creativity/madness connection and statistically scrutinized the empirical literature examining the relationship between creativity and psychopathology. Additionally, this meta-analysis explored the degree of homogeneity across findings. Primary studies in the creativity/madness literature were statistically heterogeneous, and moderating variables for statistical methodology, sampling techniques, artist type, and psychopathology type were evaluated.
It was determined that a small main effect size exists relating psychopathology and creativity. However, studies utilizing suicide for a dependent variable, proportional techniques without controls, and psychobiographical or retrospective data yield significantly higher results than studies utilizing more objective or rigorous methodology.
Benham, Charity, "The Relationship Between Creativity and Psychiatric Vulnerability: A Meta-Analysis of Empirical Studies" (2004). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 133.