Creativity and affective temperaments in non-clinical professional artists: An empirical psychometric investigation
Manic-depression/bipolar disorder was linked to creativity, with affective temperaments allegedly favoring creative expression and achievement, but a few studies only empirically tested the link. 152 undergraduate students attending preparatory courses for creative artistic professions and 152 students in areas expected to lead to a profession mostly requiring the application of the learned rules were invited to fill in the TEMPS-A (Temperament Evaluation of the Memphis, Pisa, Paris and San Diego — Autoquestionnaire), the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the Creative Achievement Questionnaire (CAQ). Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to investigate the links between creativity scores and measures of psychopathology. Creative participants and controls did not differ in terms of sex (males = 47%), age (24.5 years, SD = 3.8), or socioeconomic status. Creative people scored higher than controls on the CAQ and on the cyclothymic, hyperthymic and irritable subscales of the TEMPS-A, but not on the GHQ. Greater involvement in creative activities rather than being a creative achiever best differentiated those into the “risk for bipolar spectrum” class from the other two classes extracted by the LCA from the TEMPS-A. The use of self-report measures to evaluate both creative involvement and the risk of psychopathology, and the exclusive focus on artistic creativity limit the generalizability of the findings. This study confirms that the cyclothymic dimension of the bipolar spectrum is linked to creativity, and this link is likely to result from increased involvement into pleasurable activities, including creative ones.