Adolescents' creativity in relation to separation -individuation and different self -representations

Miriam Herman, Pace University


Past research suggests that different parenting styles and parents' personality traits promote varying levels of creativity in maturing adolescents. Parents who encourage autonomy and maintain psychological safety and freedom enhance the creative potential in their offspring. Research also suggests that children of highly creative parents exemplify similar creativity in selected fields. Gender differences in the expression of creative thinking in latency age children and adolescents is controversial. An array of theoretical perspectives helps explain the manifestation of creative ability as the integration of internal and external experiences, describing it as a trait developing along a continuum. In other words, creativity is a transformation of the experiences as they are viewed by each individual. For example, children's play transforms through language and abstract thinking to images or fantasies. This study displayed the different styles of psychological adaptation of adolescents to the separation individuation process and their relationship with their parents as it expresses itself in different creative dimensions, the functional, emotional and ideational. Subjects were 125 ninth grade students from a suburban public high school who completed the Test of Creative Thinking, the Parental Separation Inventory and the IDPA—The Inventory of Developmental Positions in Adolescents, a measure of self representations. Correlational analyses revealed few significant relationships between creativity and independence from parents. A conflictual relationship to the mother was found to relate positively to the creative dimension of originality. Negative relationships were found between self-definition and creativity, grandiosity and social isolation and creativity. Two Self-representations significantly predicted creativity The Self-Defined/Optimistic and Stimulation/Risk-Taking. In adolescence, the thrust towards development of identity, social and individual needs for independence and individuation, mastery of cognitive, affective and environmental changes, and adaptation to the increased richness of experiences are all factors in the development of creativity. This study measured adolescents' creative ability and their self and parental representations that foster and detract from its manifestation along particular pathways.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Herman, Miriam, "Adolescents' creativity in relation to separation -individuation and different self -representations" (2001). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3011867.



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