Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and creativity : An investigation into their relationship
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
A series of questions regarding the relationship between Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and creativity were addressed in this dissertation. Firstly, the creative abilities of 34 ADHD and 33 control children were compared in order to establish whether children with ADHD are more creative than controls. Results indicated that children with ADHD are equally as creative as controls. Secondly, the presence of ADHD symptomatology among 30 creative children was investigated and it was found that 40% of them displayed clinically elevated symptoms of ADHD, but none of them met full criteria for the disorder. Thirdly, the cognitive functioning four groups of children was compared: 29 ADHD who were not creative, 12 creative who displayed symptoms of ADHD, but did not meet full criteria (CA), 18 creative with no symptoms of ADHD (CNA), and 30 controls (NC). As it is well established that children with ADHD have deficits in their executive functioning, this study aimed to investigate whether the CA group displayed similar deficits. Results showed that the ADHD children had the most difficulty with the tasks, the CA children fell between the ADHD and CNA groups, and there was no difference between the CNA and NC groups. Finally, the psychosocial functioning of four groups of children was compared: 29 ADHD who were not creative, 16 creative with clinically elevated symptoms of ADHD (CA), 18 creative with no symptoms of ADHD (CNA), and 30 controls (NC). Results mirrored the continuum effect found on the cognitive functioning measures where the ADHD children had the most difficulties, the CA children fell between the ADHD and CNA groups, and there was no difference between the CNA and NC groups. The findings are discussed in light of existing research findings and theory in both ADHD and creativity, and in terms of the risks of misdiagnosing highly creative children as ADHD.