nal for the Education of the GiftedMiller et al.


Original Article

Parenting Style,
Perfectionism, and
Creativity in HighAbility and HighAchieving Young Adults

Journal for the Education of the Gifted
XX(X) 1­–22
© The Author(s) 2012
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/0162353212459257

Angie L. Miller1, Amber D. Lambert1,
and Kristie L. Speirs Neumeister2

The current study explores the potential relationships among perceived parenting
style, perfectionism, and creativity in a high-ability and high-achieving young adult
population. Using data from 323 honors college students at a Midwestern university,
bivariate correlations suggested positive relationships between (a) permissive
parenting style and creativity and (b) authoritarian parenting style and socially
prescribed perfectionism. Furthermore, negative relationships were also found
between authoritarian parenting style and creativity. These relationships were further
investigated using a path model that included control variables for gender and
parent education level. Findings suggest statistically significant relationships between
creativity and gender, authoritarian parenting and socially prescribed perfectionism,
authoritarian parenting and creativity, and permissive parenting and creativity.
creativity, high ability, high achieving, parenting style, perfectionism
The ability to think creatively, to produce novel and appropriate responses and outcomes in given situations (Brown, 1989; Plucker, Beghetto, & Dow, 2004), will be
paramount for individuals to succeed in a competitive, global environment. Although
creative-thinking skills are important for all individuals, they are particularly
important for high-ability individuals, as they are more likely to enter professions such

Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA


Corresponding Author:
Angie L. Miller, Indiana University, 1900 E 10th St., Suite 419 Bloomington, IN 47406, USA
Email: anglmill@indiana.edu

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Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X)

as medicine, engineering, and technological fields that demand problem-solving skills
and innovation. To succeed in these professions, high-ability learners cannot rely on
mastery of content alone but need to hone their creative-thinking skills as well.
Acknowledgment of this realization leads parents and educators to then pose the following question: What factors influence creative-thinking skills in high-ability students? Gaining an understanding of this question will allow parents and educators to
adapt their styles to more effectively develop creative-thinking skills in high-ability
students. To determine potential influences on creativity within a high-ability and
high-achieving population, a review of previous research is first necessary.
Creativity has been extensively studied in educational research (Andiliou & Murphy,
2010; Dai, Swanson, & Cheng, 2011; Piirto, 2004). Yet, despite the broad accumulated
knowledge on the topic, more research is needed to understand what aspects of personality affect creative expression and how background experiences influence the development of creativity. It is also important to determine precisely what is meant by the term
creativity, as many researchers in the field are not even in complete agreement about the
exact nature of this construct (Davis, 2004). For the purpose of this study, a widely used
and basic description of the construct would be any behavior or outcome that is both
“novel” and “appropriate” (Brown, 1989; Plucker et al., 2004). In addition, in our discussions of creativity, we implicitly refer to what is known as little c creativity (Davis,
2004). This type of little c creativity is demonstrated through everyday problem solving
by relatively ordinary people, as opposed to Big C creativity, that is demonstrated by
individuals such as artists or scientists who are well known and distinguished in their
domain (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). As little c creativity can be investigated in larger
groups of individuals, rather than only with a few eminent people in a particular field,
it is the preferred conceptualization for the current study.
In addition to the little c/Big C distinction, within the field of creativity research,
there is also an ongoing debate over the manifestation of creativity. Some claim that
creativity is specific to individual domains such as music, fine arts, writing, or science
and that the characteristics and skills necessary for creativity in a certain domain do
not translate to other domains (Baer, 1994). However, others assert that creativity is a
more general trait or cognitive skill that can be expressed in a wide range of circumstances (Plucker, 1998). This debate is discrete from, yet also related to, the little c/Big
C issue, insofar as Big C is demonstrated within specific fields and would therefore
support a more domain-specific conceptualization of creativity. The converse idea that
domain generality can be connected with little c creativity, as a general cognitive skill
would be more apparent in everyday problem solving, also applies to the conceptualization of creativity used in the current study. Although it is true that some researchers
prefer to conceptualize little c creativity in conjunction with domain specificity (i.e.,
Root-Bernstein & Root-Bernstein, 2004), for the purposes of the current study, a little
c/domain-general perspective will be applied.
Because a domain-general, little c creativity is applicable to a variety of individuals
and across many different domains (Davis, 2004), the measure of creativity should
also be consistent with this conceptualization. A variety of creativity measures exist,

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but instead as potential lenses through which researchers can design. which vary according to their degree of responsiveness and demandingness. such as desire for spontaneity and openness to ideas. Although they are often presented as separate categories. the product component explores the characteristics of products considered to be creative. and interpret investigations of creativity. such as use of imagination or intellectual problem solving. the person component may affect the process. product. An authoritarian style exhibits a high level of demandingness but a low level of responsiveness. or affective and emotional. the Scale of Creative Attributes and Behaviors (SCAB. Self-report measures are methodologically the most efficient. Crain. in which parents show low levels of responsiveness and demandingness. 2015 . and fantasy. The current study attempted to examine one potential connection among these components by investigating how the press component of parenting style. A permissive style exhibits a low level of demandingness but a high level of responsiveness. The dimensions of creativity can be cognitive in nature. domain-general perspective. Downloaded from jeg. can affect creativity. 2004). 1979) to divergent thinking assessments (Torrance. spontaneity. and range from self-report measures (Gough. Kelly. behavioral. process. Authoritarian parents are very strict with their children and emphasize discipline over nurturing. One such self-report measure. and the press component investigates the ways in which environment can influence creativity. The person component emphasizes the internal personality characteristics of creative individuals. but are very accepting of their children as well. along with the person component of perfectionism. 2004). the process component looks at the internal processes that take place during creative expression. It is crucial to note that the 4 Ps are not considered to be separate types of creativity. Creativity research is often categorized into a focus on four different variables: person. explore. which in turn can affect the final product. For example. Maccoby and Martin (1983) also described a fourth parenting style. 2000). and as they explicitly assess multiple aspects of creativity are the most reflective of a little c. Baumrind (1978) described different parenting styles. all of which can be influenced by the press of the situation. Authoritative parents make reasonable demands. Viewing creativity from these potential lenses is consistent with a multidimensional understanding of creativity. and press—the 4 Ps (Davis. An authoritative style exhibits high levels of responsiveness and demandingness. such as engaging in creative activities.3 Miller et al. tolerance. creative cognitive style.sagepub. 1982). 2009. it is nevertheless important to explore how these components intermingle in the manifestation of creativity. 1998) to ratings of creative products (Amabile.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. defines these various dimensions of creativity as creative engagement. Permissive parents are very accepting but exhibit less control over their children. Indifferent parents have little interest or involvement in the child’s life. indifferent. Parenting Styles The notion of different types of parenting styles has received a great deal of attention in developmental psychology through the past four decades (Berk.

Lim and Smith (2008) found that higher levels of acceptance. Generally. and different cultural factors (Chao. Snowden and Christian (1999) found that authoritative parenting was important for fostering creativity in young gifted children. gender. 2002. 1997. 1990). along with excessive control and demands. whereas the authoritarian style. & Grim. This negative relationship between parental control and creativity has also been demonstrated in laboratory settings (Gronick. 2005). was usually negatively related to creativity. 1997). use physical means of discipline. 2002). 1997). In a study of adolescents. Tennent & Berthelsen. it is important to further understand how various components of this and other parenting styles can positively or negatively affect creative expression. Self-oriented perfectionists are those that Downloaded from jeg. Although a debate exists over the precise nature and potential effects of perfectionism (Greenspon. Is it the low level of responsiveness. Schuler. Parker. Dacey (1989) also found that an interest in a child’s behavior with few specific rules to govern it was largely present in the families of highly creative individuals. which negatively affects creativity? If so. it may be that responsiveness is the most important dimension for creative expression. Coolahan. Research also suggests that authoritarian mothers are less likely to provide home environments conducive to creativity. 2002). although this effect can vary by age. 2000. characteristic of the authoritarian style. Lahart. from parents are associated with higher levels of creativity in children. 1995. 2015 . Fantuzzo.sagepub. Snowden & Christian.4 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) These parenting styles may have an effect on creativity.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. Gurland. 2000). & Rosenblate. can lead to low levels of creativity (Pandey. and expect children to not make mistakes (Tennent & Berthelsen. Hewitt and Flett (1991) defined the dimensions based on the source of the excessively high standards. should indifferent parenting also be negatively related to creativity? Or is it the high level of demandingness in the authoritarian style. This type of responsiveness to the child’s behavior is characteristic of the permissive and the authoritative parenting styles. the literature has indicated that parenting styles high in responsiveness (permissive and authoritative) had positive relationships with creativity. perfectionism is another construct that has been studied within gifted populations. Marten. which contributes to the negative influence? Results linking responsiveness to creativity have been found in gifted populations as well. Harsh treatment. such as that found in psychically and emotionally abusive parent–child relationships. also found with the authoritative style. which is low in responsiveness. some evidence suggests that this characteristic is commonly associated with many high-ability and high-achieving individuals (Parker & Adkins. Furthermore. 1999. DeCourcey. 2001. McWayne. Perfectionism In addition to parenting style. related to authoritative and permissive styles. The construct of perfectionism is widely accepted as multidimensional (Frost. Because authoritarian parenting style is characterized by harsh treatment and high levels of control. Given the previous research on the effect of parenting style for gifted and nongifted populations. & Jacob. instead establishing restrictive environments that inhibit growing independence.

& Kline. Hewitt. either from the self or from others. perfectionism. 1992). and perhaps this is what others are referring to when they speak of the adaptive aspects of perfectionism. In addition. Frost. other-oriented. Finally. and the concepts of creativity. studies have found that perfectionism correlates with various factors such as stress. whereas other-oriented perfectionists have unrealistically high standards for other people. This negative relationship between creativity and perfectionism has also been found in gifted individuals (Gallucci. Speirs Neumeister and Finch (2006) found an indirect relationship between parenting style and perfectionism.. These researchers assert that healthy perfectionism is sometimes confused for conscientiousness. and socially prescribed perfectionism are not healthy but rather associated with various maladaptive tendencies. 1995). Research has also indicated that authoritarian styles are related to maladaptive perfectionism. the relationship between parenting style and perfectionism (Flett. 2002). 2002) that have been found to negatively correlate with creativity as well (Curl. can have a negative effect on creative potential. which then predicted either self-oriented or socially prescribed perfectionism. Although some researchers have argued that perfectionism has a healthy component (e. 2015 .sagepub. reporting that authoritarian and indifferent parenting styles predicted insecure attachment. and concern for mistakes (for a review of studies. Rapagna. 2004). maintain unrealistically high standards for themselves. Rejskind.5 Miller et al. certain demographic aspects of an individual can have an effect on his or her personal and social experience.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. as authoritarian parenting and perfectionism may decrease creativity. When Joy and Hicks (2004) explored the potential relationship between perfectionism and creativity. Middleton. and creativity (Baer & Kaufman. and parenting style described above are no exception. see Flett & Hewitt. The imposition of strict controls. 2009). & Singer. There is also evidence that demonstrates a connection between parenting style and perfectionism. 2008. Flett and Hewitt (2006) argued that their research collectively shows that self-oriented. 2008. in a college student population (Kawamura. it should be noted that previous research shows gender-based differences in perceptions of parenting style (McGillicuddy-De Lisi & De Lisi. Therefore. Zhang. 2008. they found that high degrees of perfectionism were negatively related to creative performance. Owens & Slade. 2000). socially prescribed perfectionists perceive that others have unrealistically high expectations for them. Furthermore. 2009). Demographic Characteristics As with any psychological construct. & Harmatz. anxiety. or particularly negative aspects of perfectionism such as excessive doubts and extreme concern for making mistakes.g. & Gold. research suggests that Downloaded from jeg. 2007). Furthermore. The emphasis on enforcing strict rules may not only inhibit a freedom for creative expression but can also contribute to the development of strict self-imposed rules. One must keep in mind that many factors can play a role in explaining individual differences. An extensive qualitative study suggested that the development of socially prescribed perfectionism is related to authoritarian parenting (Speirs Neumeister. Silverman.

other-oriented. individuals high in these types of perfectionism may not allow themselves to engage in unplanned. and potentially unapproved behavior. Given the multidimensional conceptualization of creativity utilized with this study. These aspects of creativity have affective and emotional components that may be less likely to thrive in environments of high demands but low responsiveness associated with authoritarian parenting. perfectionism. more specifically it was predicted that authoritarian parenting style would be negatively related to creative engagement.sagepub. whereas the parenting styles low in responsiveness (authoritarian and indifferent) would be negatively related to overall creativity.6 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) parenting style may differ depending on socioeconomic status (SES) of families (Coolahan et al. 2002). as expecting perfection from others is inconsistent with showing a lenient attitude. As these types of perfectionism have an internal target. it was expected that all three types of perfectionism (self-oriented. Permissive parenting style was also expected to be positively related to spontaneity and tolerance. as the low demands and responsiveness of this style would probably not provide children with either the encouragement or resources to engage in many types of creative activities and behaviors. It was hypothesized that those parenting styles high in responsiveness (permissive and authoritative) would be positively related to overall creativity. Furthermore. unconventional. 2015 . with parental education level having great influence on SES in our society. and creativity in a population of high-ability and high-achieving college students. a final goal of the current study was also to explore these three constructs together. This hypothesis was derived from the idea that the low responsiveness of authoritarian parenting would contribute to a lack of encouragement for involvement in creative activities. it is important to consider these differences in any explanation of how parenting style. and creativity may be related. the goal of the current study was to explore the relationships among parenting style. The Current Study Based on the results of previous research. Finally. It was expected that authoritative and permissive parenting styles would be positively related to creative engagement and fantasy. In addition.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. as the high responsiveness of these styles is more likely to encourage creative thoughts and activities. More specifically. investigating how parenting style and perfectionism might relate to each other in their influence on creativity. as the low demandingness coupled with high responsiveness of this style might boost these emotional components. It was also predicted that authoritarian parenting style would be negatively related to the creative aspects of spontaneity and tolerance. Downloaded from jeg. and socially prescribed) would be negatively related to creativity but positively related to authoritarian parenting style. Given the prior research suggesting that perfectionism is linked to both parenting style and creativity.. it was expected that the more affective and emotional components of spontaneity and tolerance would be more negatively related to self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism. perfectionism. it was expected indifferent parenting style would be most negatively related to creative engagement. it was expected that other-oriented perfectionism would be negatively related to tolerance. Given this wealth of prior research.

An incentive raffle for a free mp3 player was used. therefore.3%). SD = 1. ethnic identity. The majority of students (89. Three separate recruitment periods took place over the spring of 2008. Materials The following measures were included in a larger battery of 12 instruments. 230 females (71. and approximately 26% of all honors college students participated. these respondent characteristics do not differ significantly when compared with the demographics of the entire honors college population. achievement motivation.6. and personality traits.2%). The surveys were completed online during a single session. The average completion time. as all participants completed all 12 instruments and demographic items. fall of 2008.7 Miller et al. Each class was represented. 2015 . A majority (80%) of the students reported that at least one parent had completed a 4-year degree. attachment style. social dominance. and spring of 2009. All students in the honors college received this email. comparisons with population demographics (see above) ensure the representativeness of the sample and generally relieve concern of a self-selection bias by key characteristics. ranging in age from 18 to 23 years (M = 19. Although there are more females than males. parenting. Downloaded from jeg. after removing outliers of greater than 2 hr (most likely due to participants leaving the web browser open while leaving the computer or working on other tasks) was 43 min. Admissions to the honors college is based on standardized test scores (SAT and ACT). perfectionism. and more Caucasian than minority students in the sample. Students completing the survey instrument more than once had their second set of responses deleted from the sample. The order of instruments was counterbalanced between versions to account for potential survey fatigue. each version contained all of the instruments. There were 85 males (26. and 8 students (2. and writing samples. which contained a link to the survey instrument. overexcitability. social coping.8%) reported their ethnicity as Caucasian. not all instruments administered are included in the current study.7%).5). Method Participants The participants were 323 students in the honors college of a Midwestern university. and seniors (20. temperament.sagepub. juniors (12. Data Collection Procedures Students were recruited through an email requesting their participation in a research study about the psychological development of giftedness. with freshmen (45.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. recommendations.2%). plus demographic items. The instruments covered topics including creativity.3%). Although this response rate is somewhat lower than desirable. suicide ideation. sophomores (18.5%) not reporting their gender.4%) included in the sample. Two versions were administered. high school grade point average (GPA). the sample was highly representative of the population and not considered biased in terms of gender or ethnicity.

Steinberg.8 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) Table 1. internalized distress. Mounts. or other caregiver.89 for subscales). 1991). The MPS (Hewitt & Flett. Parenting Scales. This produced an ordinallevel variable for each parenting style. 2015 . Additional analyses indicated a significant positive Downloaded from jeg.e. Scores for each subscale can range from 15 to 105.851 20 4 4 4 4 4 .sagepub. In the original validation studies on the MPS. 1 (one parent).751 Note: MPS = Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale. Factor analysis confirmed the three hypothesized types of perfectionism. “I strive to be the best at everything I do” and “My family expects me to be perfect”) using a 7-point Likerttype scale. and indicated whether the description was characteristic of their mother.790 .826 . For each style. α ranged from . they left it blank. 1991) measured perfectionism with a 45-item scale to assess self-oriented. Three subscale scores were calculated from the responses. The parenting style assessment was adapted from a study by Lamborn. school achievement. indicating the degree of exposure to that particular style. providing support for the construct validity. Previous research shows that the parenting style descriptions are able to determine predicted patterns in outcomes of psychosocial development. the greater the degree of perceived exposure to the parenting style. one for each style. 2 (both parents or one parent and one other caregiver). Cronbach’s alphas for the current study are found in Table 1. If the description was not characteristic of any caregiver. and problem behavior (Lamborn et al. Participants indicated their level of agreement with statements about certain perceptions and behaviors (i. Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS). Participants read four descriptive paragraphs.845 . with higher scores indicating higher levels of perfectionism. and Dornbusch (1991)..com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. permissive.. father.816 .882 . Hewitt and Flett (1991) reported adequate internal consistency (across 4 studies. the higher the score. in which the instrument was designed as part of a larger group of scales to retrospectively determine perceived authoritative. SCAB = Scale of Creative Attributes and Behaviors. other-oriented. and socially prescribed perfectionism.74 to .824 . authoritarian. and indifferent parenting styles for the mothers and fathers of participating students. Cronbach’s Alphas for MPS and SCAB MPS   Self-oriented perfectionism   Other-oriented perfectionism   Socially prescribed perfectionism SCAB   Overall creativity   Creative engagement   Creative cognitive style  Spontaneity  Tolerance  Fantasy Number of items Cronbach’s α 15 15 15 . respondents could score 0 (neither parent).912 . or 3 (both parents and one other caregiver).

com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. Additional validity studies indicated a significant positive relationship with the personality trait of Openness to Experience (r = . parenting style and perfectionism.90 for subscales). and perfectionism and creativity. Kelly (2004) reported adequate internal consistency (α = . tolerance.70-. there were very few cases with missing data and thus only a few cases were lost (path model n = 298) and these lost cases did not change the Downloaded from jeg. spontaneity. the statistical package used for analysis of the path model. Cronbach’s alphas for the current study are found in Table 1. In the original validation studies on the SCAB. and the subscales were able to differentiate between samples of students and clinical patients. and fantasy. 2006). SCAB. with higher scores indicating higher levels of creativity. The SCAB is a self-report creativity measure (Kelly. and clinical assessments (Hewitt & Flett.75 total scale.61 for subscales).e. “I enjoy creating new things. α = . Educational level of both parents was also asked of participants. Analytical Procedures In the first stage of analyses. a series of bivariate correlations were completed to explore the potential relationships between parenting style and creativity. Factor analysis confirmed the five hypothesized components.51 total scale). Other demographics. Five subscale scores and one overall score can be calculated from the responses. This information was then recoded into a dichotomous variable for status as a first-generation college student (0 = not a first-generation student [at least one parent had completed a 4-year degree]. Additional demographic information was also collected and recoded for use as control variables.” “I am flexible in my thinking. performance standards.82 for subscales) and test–retest reliability after 1 month (r = . the authors obtained evidence for concurrent and divergent validity in the coadministration of the MPS with a variety of personality measures. Because AMOS. 1 = first-generation student [neither parent had completed a 4-year degree]). Perhaps due to the high achievement and conscientiousness of the students in this study.80 total scale. creative cognitive style. 2015 . only those cases without any missing data were included in the model. and behaviors (i. 2004) designed to assess the dimensions of creative engagement.9 Miller et al.sagepub.69-. relationship with observer ratings (r = . providing support for the construct validity. Furthermore. characteristics.” and “I often fantasize”) using a 7-point Likert-type scale. 1991). Gender was recoded as a dichotomous variable (0 = male. In the next stage.. does not allow for missing values in the computation of modification indices.35-. r = . and this similarity to findings using other creativity measures provides evidence of concurrent validity (Kelly. 1 = female). Creating this path model allowed us to further investigate the relationship between variables while correcting for potential inflation due to multiple correlations. whereas the subscale scores can range from 4 to 28. This 20-item scale instructs participants to indicate their level of agreement with statements about typical attitudes. The overall score can range from 20 to 140. we created a structural equation model using our hypothesized relationships suggested by past literature and our findings from the first stage of this study.

**p < .048 .013 .080 . makeup of the characteristics of the sample.065 .074 .138* −.165* . After determination of acceptable model fit. Results Correlation Analyses The correlation matrices for all three instruments (SCAB. and Parenting Scales) and their subscales are presented in Tables 2.074 . 2015 .01.013 *p < .073 .136* −.05.100 −.081 −.109 −.045 Overall creativity Creative engagement Creative cognitive style Spontaneity Tolerance Fantasy *p < .com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24.061 −.072 −. Permissive parenting showed a significant positive relationship with creativity.082 −.080 −.078 .053 .01. Bivariate Correlations for Parenting Style and Perfectionism Authoritarian Authoritative Permissive Self-oriented perfectionism Other-oriented perfectionism Socially prescribed perfectionism .048 .109 .01.083 . Bivariate Correlations for Creativity and Perfectionism Self-oriented perfectionism Other-oriented perfectionism Socially prescribed perfectionism −. Bivariate Correlations for Creativity and Parenting Style Overall creativity Creative engagement Creative cognitive style Spontaneity Tolerance Fantasy Authoritarian Authoritative Permissive −.016 .150** −.009 .105 .055 .121* −.029 .058 .062 −. the path coefficients were examined to review the possible relationships.060 . Downloaded from jeg.sagepub. 3.092 .020 .151. **p < .05.10 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) Table 2.151** . for the overall SCAB score (r = .210** −.119* −.075 −.020 −.102 .067 . MPS.05. **p < .034 −. and 4. Table 4. Table 3.136* *p < .

001). 2015 . the Creative Cognitive Style subscale (r = −. Authoritarian parenting showed a significant negative correlation with creativity. Authoritarian parenting also showed a significant positive correlation with socially prescribed perfectionism (r = .136. Due to an extremely low variance..sagepub. authoritative parenting style. only the overall creativity score was included as an endogenous variable in the model. p = .210. and other-oriented perfectionism were not included in the model. with many participants scoring a 0 and very few scoring a 2 or 3.008) and the fantasy subscale (r = . root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) value less than . It may be that there is not a strong relationship between the different variables. no other significant correlations were found for any of the parenting style. p = .033). perfectionism. Because the size of the sample inflates the chi-square value.136. self-oriented perfectionism. self-oriented perfectionism showed a significant negative correlation for the SCAB subscale of tolerance (r = −. and PCLOSE should be greater than .015). p < . Diseth & Kobbeltvedt. In addition. because the overall score was the only creativity measure consistently related to parenting style. the Creative Engagement subscale (r = −.06.g. Socially prescribed perfectionism showed a significant negative correlation with creativity for the SCAB subscale of tolerance (r = −.11 Miller et al. Downloaded from jeg. it should be noted that the strengths of the correlations were rather weak. rather than including each of the subscales.119.165.017). The following cutoffs suggest a good fit when testing structural models: Tucker–Lewis Index (TLI) and Comparative Fit Index (CFI) values greater than .95. When using the traditional measure of model fit (χ2).035).004). 2010). calculated by squaring the correlation coefficient to create an estimate of the explained variance. even the more conservative RMSEA and PCLOSE. Mathematically. this limits the variability and reduces the likelihood of getting a strong correlation. for many of these relationships. p = . Although participants could theoretically score between 0 and 3 on the parenting style measures (with a higher score meaning greater exposure to the style).05 (Hu & Bentler.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. This combination of bivariate correlations and path analyses has been utilized in previous research with college student scores on multiple self-report instruments (e. there was a negative skew for authoritarian and permissive styles. Therefore.150. p = . As shown in Table 5. In considering the R2 values. the correlation only explained anywhere from 1% to 4% of the variance. the model had a weak fit. 1999).138. these tests. Although many of these correlations were significant. Furthermore. other model-fit indices were considered. indifferent parenting style. Path Model To create the most parsimonious path model.016). or creativity scales. p = . p = .008). Although some were hypothesized.121. p = . all suggest that the model is a good fit for the data. or it may be that the relationship with parenting style is not reflected well with a linear analysis. for the overall SCAB score (r = −. and the Tolerance subscale (r = −. p = . indifferent parenting style was not included in the correlation analyses (82% of participants had a score of zero for this variable). only those variables with significant bivariate correlations were selected for inclusion in the model.

The two parenting styles (authoritarian and permissive) that the correlation analyses showed were related to perfectionism and creativity were also included in the model.95. whereas.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. in contrast. RMSEA less than . 2015 . as this relationship remained significant even when taking into account the influence of other variables. Possible explanations for this finding.999 Note: TLI = Tucker–Lewis Index. this study failed to find evidence for this. although there is not much literature to support this finding. exposure to an authoritarian parenting style had a negative effect (−. The outcome for the path model was overall creativity. and PCLOSE greater than .06. at least among gifted young adults. Recent research does suggest that the positive outcomes of authoritative parenting may not Downloaded from jeg. the negative path coefficient for gender on overall creativity (−.218) suggested a positive relationship and the strongest one in the overall model.168) suggests that male students reported higher overall creativity. The results of the path model also support this potential strength of permissive parenting. Although both indirect and direct effects were explored in the path model (see Figure 1).05. it was the only perfectionism scale included in the model. This negative effect was actually the strongest influence on a student’s overall creativity.212). Model-Fit Results for Path Model N TLI CFI RMSEA PCLOSE 298 .929 . Permissive parenting style was shown to have a statistically significant positive effect on a student’s overall creativity (.sagepub. RMSEA = root mean square error of approximation. Because socially prescribed perfectionism was the only type of perfectionism that was correlated with overall creativity or parenting style. The positive correlation between creativity (overall and fantasy subscale) and permissive parenting suggests that more perceived exposure to a permissive style is related to higher levels of self-reported creativity. Strong model fit is reflected by CFI and TLI greater than . CFI = Comparative Fit Index. are explored in more detail in the discussion section. as well as the others.162).917 . and perfectionism in high-ability and high-achieving young adults.12 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) Table 5. parenting style.05 or lower). Discussion Several different sets of analyses were completed. only four direct relationships were statistically significant (p < . The path coefficient for authoritarian parenting style on socially prescribed perfectionism (. Both gender (1 = female) and parental education level (1 = first-generation college student) were exogenous variables in the model. each revealing further evidence concerning the relationship between creativity. Finally.040 . Although most research provides evidence supporting authoritative parenting as being associated with positive outcomes. This finding provides evidence for a potential strength of a permissive parenting.

Figure 1. Path model with statistically significant standardized path coefficients 13 Downloaded from jeg. 2015 .sagepub.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24.

the significant relationships between authoritarian parenting style and socially prescribed perfectionism. The positive correlation between authoritarian style and socially prescribed perfectionism. related to increases in socially prescribed perfectionism and decreases in creativity. 2004. win awards. This would be an interesting question for future research to address. 2004). Although previous literature has demonstrated a link between perfectionism and creativity (Gallucci et al. This finding further supports the potential weaknesses of this style. 2001). and authoritarian parenting style and creativity remained. Judgments and critiques may be frequently voiced. which may additionally obscure patterns in the results. Further complicating the relationships between the constructs in the model is the idea of conditional acceptance and the effect it can have on perfectionism. It may also be that the combination of both dimensions is the critical piece in understanding the effect of parenting style on creativity. 2015 .. in neither the bivariate correlation Downloaded from jeg. replicates previous research (Speirs Neumeister. However. Conditional acceptance by parents results in a child’s thinking pattern of “I am acceptable [to my parents] as long as I can perform well [make good grades. The negative correlation between authoritarian style and creativity suggests that more perceived exposure to this style is related to lower levels of creativity. 2008). with more exposure to authoritarian parenting also showing higher levels of perfectionism. It is noteworthy that permissive and authoritarian are the exact opposite styles when considering dimensions of demandingness and responsiveness. Authoritarian parents are high in demandingness and low in responsiveness. 2006) and provides further evidence for the weaknesses of authoritarian parenting. The results of the path model further elaborate on the relationship between these variables. It may be that the high degree of responsiveness found in permissive and authoritative parenting is what is most important for nurturing creativity. 2000. These opposite styles had opposite effects on creativity in the model. etc.14 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) generalize to other cultures (Chao. 2011). Perceived authoritarian parenting style appears to have detrimental consequences in various areas for high-ability and high-achieving young adults. whereas permissive parents are low in demandingness and high in responsiveness. Even when controlling for gender and first-generation status. particularly with a gifted population (Dwairy. although conditional acceptance plays a role in the development of perfectionism. and children grow up believing they are never good enough (Greenspon. The relationship between authoritarian parenting and creativity is more complex to interpret.]” and is a pervasive theme in the literature concerning the clinical implications of perfectionism (Greenspon. with permissive as a positive predictor and authoritarian as a negative predictor. it may also be that more creative parents tend to be more permissive and are passing on their creative traits biologically to their children. Speirs Neumeister & Finch. and this relationship was also significant in the path model. 2004). There is also the possibility that because it is virtually impossible to disentangle genetic and environmental influences. it is not necessarily constrained to one particular parenting style.sagepub. Joy & Hicks. but the high degree of demandingness is not as effective for this particular population of high-ability and high-achieving young adults.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24.

such as the one included in this study. the participants were retrospectively responding to the instrument. nor the path model was socially prescribed perfectionism significantly related to overall creativity. Firstgeneration status was included to account for a potential effect on parenting style. but does not consistently reflect prior findings. a more permissive style is associated with more positive outcomes. but is less important to college students. Incorporating this research with the findings of a meta-analysis by Feist (1998) who found that conscientiousness was related to scientific creativity. or some may be creative despite their perfectionism. 2015 . as only 20% of the students were first-generation college students. 1983. Duckworth.sagepub. Although empirical evidence (McGillicuddy-De Lisi & De Lisi. 2002). as the literature suggests (Baumrind. perfectionism might have greater explanatory power when it comes to domain-specific creativity. There were also some interesting findings based on the inclusion of the control variables of gender and first-generation student status in the path model. as previous research has suggested that parenting styles can differ depending on the SES of the family (Coolahan et al. Although the parenting style measure was written in the present tense. 2009). Gender was another control variable that was included based on previous research.. It may also be that these socioeconomic differences in parenting style are not found in families with high-ability or highachieving children. might not fully capture the relationship.15 Miller et al. It could be that in a subpopulation within a specific domain. Some researchers assert that perfectionism is a facet of the conscientiousness trait (MacCann. 1999). This conclusion is further supported by the work of Kelly and Kneipp (2009). More research with high-ability and high-achieving populations is needed to further explore potential reasons for this finding. It may be due to the skewed distribution of the sample. which linked scores on the SCAB to artistic vocational interests. This result may be due to the differences in the various facets of perfectionism in the instrument that was used in this study. They could have based responses on their current relationship with their parents or over the course of growing up. Another potential reason for a lack of relationship between perfectionism and creativity in this study may be the conceptualization of creativity from a domaingeneral perspective. & Dalbert. one can understand how a domain-general measure of creativity.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. The age of the sample is an additional piece of information that is important to consider when interpreting the findings of this study. 2009). Roberts Gray & Steinberg. particularly for high-ability and high-achieving students who may want the support without the demands. and indeed some have found that conscientiousness is a predictor of self-oriented perfectionism (Stoeber. & Roberts. 2007) suggests that perceptions of parenting Downloaded from jeg. but not artistic creativity. It may be that authoritative is related to the most positive outcomes growing up. these paths were not significant in the model. However. or it may be that this finding is not apparent in a high-ability and young adult population. Some highly creative gifted young adults may not be perfectionists. given that they had approximately two decades of parenting information to contemplate. Otto. suggesting that this domain-general measure might not be the most precise assessment of nonartistic domains. Perhaps once they become young adults. or that parenting styles were altered to accommodate the special needs of these children.

using a divergent thinking test to assess creativity (Ai. males had higher levels of creativity than females. as Baer (1997) found that an expectation of evaluation is detrimental to females’. Previous research by Flett et al. It may be that males and females vary in different types or aspects of creativity. the paths for gender and permissive and authoritarian parenting style were not significant in our model. but not females. It may be that the distinctive experiences of high-ability and highachieving individuals. suggesting that in our sample. the males in the sample may show higher levels of creativity. some limitations should also be considered. A final explanation for this finding could relate to this sample itself. 1992). creative production. but not males’. 2015 . A significant difference in this direction was not expected. the paths for gender and socially prescribed perfectionism were not significant in the model. Limitations Although there are several strengths of this study. Perhaps the females in this study were more sensitive to the scientific nature of the research process and felt their responses would be evaluated more severely. 2007). whereas another found differences in the ways that creative males and females (in a sample of engineers and musicians) chose to describe themselves on a self-report measure (Charyton & Snelbecker. More research is needed to explore gender differences in creativity specifically with high-ability and high-achieving young adult populations.16 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) style can differ for males and females.. One limitation involves the online data collection. Furthermore. this may be true for creativity as well. and some measures are more sensitive to these variations than others. who show greater variation in creativity. Some research suggests that males self-report more positively on other characteristics (Simon & Nath.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. which may not always be objective. 2004). later research with a sample of gifted college students (Speirs Neumeister. more research is needed on the family experiences of high-ability and high-achieving students. 1999). Previous research has found that the relationship between creativity and academic achievement is much stronger for males than females (Asha. 2004) did not find evidence for this gender difference. 1999. Because admission to the honors college is based primarily on academic achievement (standardized test scores. teacher recommendations). Downloaded from jeg. (1995) found that authoritarian parenting style was related to socially prescribed perfectionism in males. as compared with the females. most studies looking at self-reports of students in higher education suggest that self-reports and actual abilities are positively related (Anaya. However. Hayek. However. It could also be that gender differences emerge under certain environmental conditions. 2008) or slightly favors females on measures of verbal creativity (Rejskind et al. as a majority of research indicates no gender differences for creativity (Baer & Kaufman. Again. 1980). as compared with a more general sample of college students. One study found a similar gender difference for flexibility and elaboration. The model showed a significant path coefficient from gender to creativity. Although this type of research has the advantages of increased sample size and ease of data collection. one must rely completely on self-reported measures. GPA.sagepub. cancel out the differences between males and females.

More research is needed on how parenting style. perfectionism. Research is also needed to explore the complexities of how the thought processes associated with perfectionism and creativity are moderated by characteristics such as gender as well as environmental and cultural experiences. the research is still correlational and causality cannot be confirmed (Trafimow. and the potential for individual variation requires more investigation of these constructs (Sroufe. something one is exposed to since birth. 1996). Additional research with more representative samples including high-ability underachievers that incorporate other measures of the same constructs is needed to draw more definitive conclusions. parenting style can have a differential effect. therefore. in particular authoritarian and permissive styles. Pike. as parenting and perfectionism may influence achievement levels as well (Nugent. potential gender and cultural differences are important for consideration in the study of how parenting style can influence development. However. Furthermore. there were no underachievers in our sample. 2001. 2002. In addition to these limitations. Conclusion The results of this study suggest that parenting styles can have an effect on creativity for high-ability and high-achieving young adults. Findings may not be replicated on samples of young adults at different ability levels. 2007). Therefore. There are multiple subjective factors to be considered in emotional development. As we leave the information age and enter the innovation age (Hill. which could have introduced further error into the precision of the instrument. 1996). This study contributes to the understanding of influences on creative thinking for Downloaded from jeg. depending on certain characteristics of the child and the environmental context (Chao. the patterns found in this study may not be reproduced. 2015 . such as gender and perfectionism. Carini. particularly attachment. As previous studies have shown. 2000. the results should be interpreted with caution. and creativity of the participants. or it could be that the explanatory power of parenting style increases. which suggest that there are many other factors not measured in this study having an influence on the perceived parenting style. One should also keep in mind that the parenting style measure was not only self-reported but retrospective. 2007). 2006).17 Miller et al. McGillicuddy-De Lisi & De Lisi. there were relatively weak significant correlations and path coefficients. Rimm. only those students with high ability who are also high achievers could be included in the study. the importance of creativity for success beyond the classroom cannot be overstated. & Kuh. O’Day. In young adults who show a broader range of abilities. affects the individual as a young adult in positive and negative ways. The pattern of results might differ dramatically for high-ability underachievers. Although complex correlational models such as path analyses can provide richer information than simple bivariate correlations. which can also influence creativity.sagepub. these relationships are complicated by other factors. 1995). Because admission to the honors college was based on high achievement.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. Furthermore. the sample was somewhat homogeneous in terms of age and ethnicity.

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1177/001698620605000304 Sroufe. 48. D. Stoeber. Her research interests include gender issues in higher education. NY: Cambridge University Press. L. doi:10. Amber D. the utilization of creativity in educational settings. Torrance tests of creative thinking: Norms-technical manual figural (Streamlined) forms A and B. Trafimow.04. Lambert is a member of the research analyst team at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University.paid. Personality and Individual Differences. 91-104. C. & Dalbert. K. (2009). (1998). doi:10. Her research interests include creativity assessment. doi:10. & Berthelsen. J. (2009). Gifted Child Quarterly.. New York. engineering education.1016/j. Anxiety and thinking styles. L. Multiplicative invalidity and its application to complex correlational models.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. where she directs the licensure program and teaches graduate courses in gifted education. L. Factors influencing the development of perfectionism in gifted college students. She does research and data analysis for the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP).132.. including the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project and the National Survey of Student Engagement. Emotional development: The organization of emotional life in the early years. Creativity: What does it mean in the family context? Journal of Australian Research in Early Childhood Education. & Finch. 363-368. arts education. D.2009. P. doi:10. Miller has a research faculty position at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University.1016/j. Speirs Neumeister is an associate professor of educational psychology at Ball State University.22 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) Speirs Neumeister. and factors impacting gifted student engagement and achievement. H. (1996). Torrance..1177/001698620404800402 Speirs Neumeister. Perfectionism in high-ability students: Relational precursors and influences on achievement motivation.004 Tennent. 132. and General Psychology Monographs.001 Bios Angie L. 47. IL: Scholastic Testing Service. A. 347-351. (2006). E. Genetic.. doi:10.04. 47.3. Social. Perfectionism and the big five: Conscientiousness predicts longitudinal increases in self-oriented perfectionism. Otto. K.3200/ MONO. where she provides analytic support to several large survey research projects. She is currently the president elect of the Indiana Association for the Gifted and has served on the board of the Council for Exceptional Children–The Association for the Gifted. 1. Downloaded from jeg. Her research interests center on the social and emotional needs of gifted individuals. and quantitative reasoning. 50. L. K. Kristie L. (2006). Bensenville. L. (1997). (2004).2009. Personality and Individual Differences. creativity. Gifted Child Quarterly. 215-239. 259-274.215-240 Zhang.paid. 238-251. 2015 .sagepub.