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Qual Health Res. 2016 Jan;26(1):32-40. doi: 10.1177/1049732315578403. Epub 2015 Mar 26.

Creativity and Bipolar Disorder: Igniting a Dialogue.

Author information

1
University of California, Berkeley, California, USA.
2
Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia.
3
University of British Columbia, Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada.
4
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
5
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada erin.michalak@ubc.ca.

Abstract

Bipolar disorder (BD) has been related to heightened creativity, yet core questions remain unaddressed about this association. We used qualitative methods to investigate how highly creative individuals with BD understand the role of symptoms and treatment in their creativity, and possible mechanisms underpinning this link. Twenty-two individuals self-identified as highly creative and living with BD took part in focus groups and completed quantitative measures of symptoms, quality of life (QoL), and creativity. Using thematic analysis, five themes emerged: the pros and cons of mania for creativity, benefits of altered thinking, the relationship between creativity and medication, creativity as central to one's identity, and creativity's importance in stigma reduction and treatment. Despite reliance on a small sample who self-identified as having BD, findings shed light on previously mixed results regarding the influence of mania and treatment and suggest new directions for the study of mechanisms driving the creative advantage in BD.

KEYWORDS:

bipolar disorder; qualitative

PMID:
25814521
DOI:
10.1177/1049732315578403
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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