Disruptive behaviors and creativity in childhood: The importance of affect regulation

Jennifer L. Butcher, Larissa N. Niec

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This study examined the role of affect regulation and negative affect expression in the relationship between disruptive behaviors and creativity. Seventy 6- to 10-year-old children completed measures to assess divergent thinking and affect expression in fantasy play. Parents completed measures of children's creativity, affect regulation, and behavioral functioning. Results indicated that higher levels of disruptive behaviors related to lower levels of creativity on divergent thinking tasks and by parent report. Affect regulation mediated the relationship. Results failed to support a relationship between negative affect expression in play and creativity, although greater levels of negative affect expression related to higher levels of disruptive behaviors. Results highlight the importance of affect regulation for both behavioral functioning and adaptive traits including creative achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2005


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