Anxiety and adverse life events in professional creative and early psychosis populations

Julie Crabtree*, Jennifer L Hudson, Toby Newton-John

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The association between creativity and psychopathology has intrigued researchers and recent studies have affirmed genetic and epidemiological links. In particular, epidemiological research highlights the need to study what aspects of the creative individual protect or provide risk for transition to psychosis. Two factors, associated with transition to psychosis, will be investigated, namely anxiety and adverse life events. Method: A diverse sample of 110 participants (18-35 years) was examined, including early psychosis (EP), creative professionals who are clinically vulnerable or "at-risk" (ARCC), those with no psychotic symptoms (CC), and non-creative (NCC) participants. Measures of anxiety (DASS) and adverse life events (ALE) were administered to the participants to determine whether these factors were positively or negatively associated with creativity and whether they were able to differentiate the EP from ARCC, CC and NCC participants. Results: Creative cognition and achievement were positively correlated with anxiety. The EP and ARCC groups were more closely aligned than expected on measures of anxiety and adverse life events. Childhood sexual/physical assault were the only variables that differentiated these two groups. Conclusions: These results provide further support for the association between creative professionals and those with early psychosis. It provides corroborating evidence of the vulnerability of creative individuals who appear to be aligned with the early psychosis group on anxiety, aspects of paranoia and overall trauma. The results provide possible innovative avenues for intervention in EP and ARCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-343
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Early online date18 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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