Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Research in the area of creativity suggested that mild, but not severe, mood elevation may sometimes enhance creativity. While depression has been thought by some to reduce creativity, empirical support for this hypothesis has been elusive and the relationship between creativity and depression now seems more complex than previously considered. Conversely, there has been speculation that creative activity itself may have differential effects on mood, depending on the individual. Maladaptive perfectionism, theorized to be one of the intervening variables between depression and creativity, has been associated with higher levels of categorical thinking which may mitigate against the constructive reasoning thought necessary for creative endeavors to flourish. The present study hypothesized that the effects of creative behavior on depression would vary significantly as a function of maladaptive perfectionism, e.g., positive versus inverse relationship for low versus high perfectionistic traits, respectively.

Forty-six participants were randomly assigned to a control or experimental condition. Experimental group participants were asked to increase creative behavior in their daily lives over a two-week period. Creative behavior was measured with the Pleasant Events Schedule-Creativity Scale, depression symptoms were assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), and perfectionism as assessed with the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS). Collateral analyses (i.e., comparisons of experimental participants who increased their creative behavior to controls who did not) were completed to better understand the results. Asking participants to increase creative behavior in their daily lives was a successful method when participants had initially lower levels of creative behavior. Increases in creative behavior over a two-week period produced significant reductions in depression symptoms compared to a control group. Maladaptive perfectionism within this sample of college undergraduates was not linked to creative behavior but MPS scale scores had a positive trend with BDI-II depression symptoms.

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