This study sought to explore whether creativity in undertaking activities such as free writing, telling a story, crafts, painting, drawing, or drama at age 7 is associated with a lower risk of social and behavioral maladjustment in children at the onset of adolescence. Data from 7558 7-year-olds who were socially and behaviorally "stable" at baseline were analyzed from the nationally representative National Child Development Study. Multinomial regression analyses showed associations between teacher-rated creativity at age 7 and a lower relative risk of social and behavioral instability and maladjustment at age 11. Specifically, the associations were found between moderate and marked creativity and a lower risk of symptoms of internalizing behaviors (including depression and withdrawal), externalizing behaviors (such as restlessness) as well as a lower risk of various nervous symptoms of social and behavioral instability and maladjustment. Associations were independent of social, demographic, educational, parental, academic, and personality covariates, and robust to a range of sensitivity analyses. These results suggest that facilitating engagement with creative activities could be explored further as a way of reducing levels of instability and maladjustment at the onset of adolescence.
Keywords: behavioral adjustment; children; creativity; depression; maladjustment; social adjustment.
© 2018 The Authors. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of New York Academy of Sciences.