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459257

nal for the Education of the GiftedMiller et al.

JEGXXX10.1177/0162353212459257Jour

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
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DOI: 10.1177/0162353212459257
http://jeg.sagepub.com

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

Abstract
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.
Keywords
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
1

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

2

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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2

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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spontaneity. and interpret investigations of creativity. The current study attempted to examine one potential connection among these components by investigating how the press component of parenting style. For example. 2009.3 Miller et al. the Scale of Creative Attributes and Behaviors (SCAB. which vary according to their degree of responsiveness and demandingness. A permissive style exhibits a low level of demandingness but a high level of responsiveness. Self-report measures are methodologically the most efficient. Downloaded from jeg. can affect creativity. and the press component investigates the ways in which environment can influence creativity. but are very accepting of their children as well. Baumrind (1978) described different parenting styles. the process component looks at the internal processes that take place during creative expression. product. and range from self-report measures (Gough. which in turn can affect the final product. and as they explicitly assess multiple aspects of creativity are the most reflective of a little c. The person component emphasizes the internal personality characteristics of creative individuals. it is nevertheless important to explore how these components intermingle in the manifestation of creativity. 2004). such as use of imagination or intellectual problem solving. 2015 . Maccoby and Martin (1983) also described a fourth parenting style. the product component explores the characteristics of products considered to be creative.sagepub. Permissive parents are very accepting but exhibit less control over their children. indifferent. but instead as potential lenses through which researchers can design. Crain. One such self-report measure. creative cognitive style. Authoritative parents make reasonable demands. Authoritarian parents are very strict with their children and emphasize discipline over nurturing. such as engaging in creative activities. explore. 2004). and fantasy. such as desire for spontaneity and openness to ideas.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. in which parents show low levels of responsiveness and demandingness. 1998) to ratings of creative products (Amabile. Viewing creativity from these potential lenses is consistent with a multidimensional understanding of creativity. 2000). defines these various dimensions of creativity as creative engagement. process. The dimensions of creativity can be cognitive in nature. 1982). along with the person component of perfectionism. An authoritarian style exhibits a high level of demandingness but a low level of responsiveness. all of which can be influenced by the press of the situation. domain-general perspective. 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. or affective and emotional. 1979) to divergent thinking assessments (Torrance. the person component may affect the process. tolerance. and press—the 4 Ps (Davis. It is crucial to note that the 4 Ps are not considered to be separate types of creativity. Kelly. behavioral. Although they are often presented as separate categories. Indifferent parents have little interest or involvement in the child’s life. An authoritative style exhibits high levels of responsiveness and demandingness. Creativity research is often categorized into a focus on four different variables: person.

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

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

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

recommendations. 230 females (71. ethnic identity. juniors (12. An incentive raffle for a free mp3 player was used. temperament. The order of instruments was counterbalanced between versions to account for potential survey fatigue.3%).8%) reported their ethnicity as Caucasian.6. attachment style. each version contained all of the instruments. SD = 1. with freshmen (45. sophomores (18. comparisons with population demographics (see above) ensure the representativeness of the sample and generally relieve concern of a self-selection bias by key characteristics. Materials The following measures were included in a larger battery of 12 instruments. overexcitability. and more Caucasian than minority students in the sample. The instruments covered topics including creativity. Two versions were administered. and spring of 2009. All students in the honors college received this email.2%). Although there are more females than males.4%) included in the sample. Admissions to the honors college is based on standardized test scores (SAT and ACT). and seniors (20. 2015 . Downloaded from jeg. Students completing the survey instrument more than once had their second set of responses deleted from the sample. The majority of students (89. fall of 2008. social dominance. suicide ideation. these respondent characteristics do not differ significantly when compared with the demographics of the entire honors college population. 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. and 8 students (2. There were 85 males (26. which contained a link to the survey instrument. as all participants completed all 12 instruments and demographic items. high school grade point average (GPA). and personality traits.5%) not reporting their gender. Method Participants The participants were 323 students in the honors college of a Midwestern university. Data Collection Procedures Students were recruited through an email requesting their participation in a research study about the psychological development of giftedness.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. not all instruments administered are included in the current study. therefore.7 Miller et al. parenting.sagepub.7%). achievement motivation. The average completion time. The surveys were completed online during a single session. Each class was represented. the sample was highly representative of the population and not considered biased in terms of gender or ethnicity. Three separate recruitment periods took place over the spring of 2008.2%). A majority (80%) of the students reported that at least one parent had completed a 4-year degree.3%). and writing samples. plus demographic items. perfectionism. Although this response rate is somewhat lower than desirable. ranging in age from 18 to 23 years (M = 19.5). and approximately 26% of all honors college students participated. social coping.

other-oriented.824 . the greater the degree of perceived exposure to the parenting style. one for each style. or 3 (both parents and one other caregiver).com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24.8 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) Table 1.74 to . 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. or other caregiver.751 Note: MPS = Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale. and Dornbusch (1991). Participants read four descriptive paragraphs. internalized distress. Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS). Hewitt and Flett (1991) reported adequate internal consistency (across 4 studies.845 .826 . Three subscale scores were calculated from the responses. Cronbach’s alphas for the current study are found in Table 1.e. Parenting Scales. Participants indicated their level of agreement with statements about certain perceptions and behaviors (i. In the original validation studies on the MPS. Scores for each subscale can range from 15 to 105. If the description was not characteristic of any caregiver. indicating the degree of exposure to that particular style. For each style.912 . providing support for the construct validity. The MPS (Hewitt & Flett. 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 . and socially prescribed perfectionism. 2 (both parents or one parent and one other caregiver). 1991). father.790 .816 . with higher scores indicating higher levels of perfectionism. they left it blank. 1 (one parent). Mounts.851 20 4 4 4 4 4 . authoritarian. permissive. The parenting style assessment was adapted from a study by Lamborn. α ranged from .89 for subscales). SCAB = Scale of Creative Attributes and Behaviors. school achievement. the higher the score.. and problem behavior (Lamborn et al. respondents could score 0 (neither parent). 2015 . and indicated whether the description was characteristic of their mother.882 . in which the instrument was designed as part of a larger group of scales to retrospectively determine perceived authoritative. Steinberg. and indifferent parenting styles for the mothers and fathers of participating students. 1991) measured perfectionism with a 45-item scale to assess self-oriented. Previous research shows that the parenting style descriptions are able to determine predicted patterns in outcomes of psychosocial development.sagepub. Additional analyses indicated a significant positive Downloaded from jeg. This produced an ordinallevel variable for each parenting style.

Kelly (2004) reported adequate internal consistency (α = . Creating this path model allowed us to further investigate the relationship between variables while correcting for potential inflation due to multiple correlations. and this similarity to findings using other creativity measures provides evidence of concurrent validity (Kelly.70-. Five subscale scores and one overall score can be calculated from the responses.82 for subscales) and test–retest reliability after 1 month (r = .80 total scale.9 Miller et al. spontaneity. The SCAB is a self-report creativity measure (Kelly. 1 = female). α = . Furthermore. the statistical package used for analysis of the path model.” and “I often fantasize”) using a 7-point Likert-type scale. Perhaps due to the high achievement and conscientiousness of the students in this study. 2015 . a series of bivariate correlations were completed to explore the potential relationships between parenting style and creativity. Because AMOS. Gender was recoded as a dichotomous variable (0 = male. Analytical Procedures In the first stage of analyses.” “I am flexible in my thinking. and the subscales were able to differentiate between samples of students and clinical patients.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24.61 for subscales). Cronbach’s alphas for the current study are found in Table 1. The overall score can range from 20 to 140. and fantasy. relationship with observer ratings (r = . 2004) designed to assess the dimensions of creative engagement. Additional validity studies indicated a significant positive relationship with the personality trait of Openness to Experience (r = . Educational level of both parents was also asked of participants.51 total scale). with higher scores indicating higher levels of creativity. and clinical assessments (Hewitt & Flett.. tolerance. and behaviors (i.sagepub. This 20-item scale instructs participants to indicate their level of agreement with statements about typical attitudes. “I enjoy creating new things.69-. r = . 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. providing support for the construct validity. the authors obtained evidence for concurrent and divergent validity in the coadministration of the MPS with a variety of personality measures. In the original validation studies on the SCAB. Additional demographic information was also collected and recoded for use as control variables. 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]. only those cases without any missing data were included in the model.90 for subscales). performance standards.75 total scale. parenting style and perfectionism. 1 = first-generation student [neither parent had completed a 4-year degree]). characteristics. In the next stage. creative cognitive style. does not allow for missing values in the computation of modification indices. SCAB. Factor analysis confirmed the five hypothesized components. 1991).35-. 2006). whereas the subscale scores can range from 4 to 28. we created a structural equation model using our hypothesized relationships suggested by past literature and our findings from the first stage of this study. and perfectionism and creativity.e. Other demographics.

01.102 . and 4. Bivariate Correlations for Parenting Style and Perfectionism Authoritarian Authoritative Permissive Self-oriented perfectionism Other-oriented perfectionism Socially prescribed perfectionism .020 .048 .165* . After determination of acceptable model fit.048 .074 .061 −.055 . **p < . for the overall SCAB score (r = .062 −.136* *p < .sagepub.013 *p < .082 −.109 .067 .016 .078 . the path coefficients were examined to review the possible relationships.060 . Table 3.083 .092 .013 .029 . makeup of the characteristics of the sample.065 .10 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) Table 2.119* −.01. 3. Bivariate Correlations for Creativity and Perfectionism Self-oriented perfectionism Other-oriented perfectionism Socially prescribed perfectionism −.150** −.080 .081 −.151.045 Overall creativity Creative engagement Creative cognitive style Spontaneity Tolerance Fantasy *p < .073 .109 −. **p < .210** −.151** . Downloaded from jeg. Results Correlation Analyses The correlation matrices for all three instruments (SCAB.100 −.136* −.080 −. and Parenting Scales) and their subscales are presented in Tables 2.058 . Permissive parenting showed a significant positive relationship with creativity.105 .138* −. **p < .05.053 . Bivariate Correlations for Creativity and Parenting Style Overall creativity Creative engagement Creative cognitive style Spontaneity Tolerance Fantasy Authoritarian Authoritative Permissive −. 2015 .com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24.020 −.01.05.074 . Table 4. MPS.034 −.009 .072 −.05.075 −.121* −.

perfectionism.165. only the overall creativity score was included as an endogenous variable in the model. Although many of these correlations were significant. this limits the variability and reduces the likelihood of getting a strong correlation.95.. 2015 .004). As shown in Table 5. with many participants scoring a 0 and very few scoring a 2 or 3.121. and other-oriented perfectionism were not included in the model. the model had a weak fit.015). p < . This combination of bivariate correlations and path analyses has been utilized in previous research with college student scores on multiple self-report instruments (e. or creativity scales.05 (Hu & Bentler. Furthermore.035). Path Model To create the most parsimonious path model.136. p = .06. Therefore.008). for many of these relationships. because the overall score was the only creativity measure consistently related to parenting style. calculated by squaring the correlation coefficient to create an estimate of the explained variance. Diseth & Kobbeltvedt. indifferent parenting style. root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) value less than . no other significant correlations were found for any of the parenting style. only those variables with significant bivariate correlations were selected for inclusion in the model.g. and PCLOSE should be greater than . Downloaded from jeg. p = . or it may be that the relationship with parenting style is not reflected well with a linear analysis. Although participants could theoretically score between 0 and 3 on the parenting style measures (with a higher score meaning greater exposure to the style). indifferent parenting style was not included in the correlation analyses (82% of participants had a score of zero for this variable). all suggest that the model is a good fit for the data. the Creative Cognitive Style subscale (r = −. Authoritarian parenting also showed a significant positive correlation with socially prescribed perfectionism (r = .210. When using the traditional measure of model fit (χ2). for the overall SCAB score (r = −. In considering the R2 values.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. self-oriented perfectionism showed a significant negative correlation for the SCAB subscale of tolerance (r = −. p = .11 Miller et al. It may be that there is not a strong relationship between the different variables.017). self-oriented perfectionism.001).119.sagepub. even the more conservative RMSEA and PCLOSE. p = . and the Tolerance subscale (r = −. Authoritarian parenting showed a significant negative correlation with creativity. rather than including each of the subscales. p = . Because the size of the sample inflates the chi-square value. these tests. p = . the correlation only explained anywhere from 1% to 4% of the variance. 1999). The following cutoffs suggest a good fit when testing structural models: Tucker–Lewis Index (TLI) and Comparative Fit Index (CFI) values greater than . p = . 2010). Socially prescribed perfectionism showed a significant negative correlation with creativity for the SCAB subscale of tolerance (r = −. p = .033).016).136. there was a negative skew for authoritarian and permissive styles. Due to an extremely low variance. Mathematically. Although some were hypothesized.138.150.008) and the fantasy subscale (r = . the Creative Engagement subscale (r = −. authoritative parenting style. In addition. other model-fit indices were considered. it should be noted that the strengths of the correlations were rather weak.

are explored in more detail in the discussion section. in contrast.06. Model-Fit Results for Path Model N TLI CFI RMSEA PCLOSE 298 . at least among gifted young adults. The path coefficient for authoritarian parenting style on socially prescribed perfectionism (. and perfectionism in high-ability and high-achieving young adults.212). The results of the path model also support this potential strength of permissive parenting.162). Recent research does suggest that the positive outcomes of authoritative parenting may not Downloaded from jeg. and PCLOSE greater than . Permissive parenting style was shown to have a statistically significant positive effect on a student’s overall creativity (. Both gender (1 = female) and parental education level (1 = first-generation college student) were exogenous variables in the model. This negative effect was actually the strongest influence on a student’s overall creativity.040 . Strong model fit is reflected by CFI and TLI greater than . exposure to an authoritarian parenting style had a negative effect (−. this study failed to find evidence for this.917 . The outcome for the path model was overall creativity.05. Although most research provides evidence supporting authoritative parenting as being associated with positive outcomes. 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. This finding provides evidence for a potential strength of a permissive parenting. as well as the others.95. RMSEA less than . as this relationship remained significant even when taking into account the influence of other variables. although there is not much literature to support this finding. whereas.999 Note: TLI = Tucker–Lewis Index. parenting style. 2015 .sagepub. The two parenting styles (authoritarian and permissive) that the correlation analyses showed were related to perfectionism and creativity were also included in the model. only four direct relationships were statistically significant (p < . Discussion Several different sets of analyses were completed. Although both indirect and direct effects were explored in the path model (see Figure 1).12 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) Table 5. each revealing further evidence concerning the relationship between creativity. it was the only perfectionism scale included in the model. the negative path coefficient for gender on overall creativity (−. Possible explanations for this finding. Finally. CFI = Comparative Fit Index.168) suggests that male students reported higher overall creativity.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24.218) suggested a positive relationship and the strongest one in the overall model. Because socially prescribed perfectionism was the only type of perfectionism that was correlated with overall creativity or parenting style. RMSEA = root mean square error of approximation.929 .05 or lower).

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

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

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

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

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

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22 Journal for the Education of the Gifted XX(X) Speirs Neumeister. arts education. doi:10. (2004).001 Bios Angie L. Torrance. and General Psychology Monographs. the utilization of creativity in educational settings. L.3200/ MONO. engineering education. Trafimow. New York. 238-251. 215-239.paid.2009.04. Amber D. Emotional development: The organization of emotional life in the early years. K. L. & Dalbert. (1996). 132. C. Social. Her research interests include creativity assessment. 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. D.paid. She does research and data analysis for the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). (2009). 347-351. Miller has a research faculty position at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University. & Finch. Torrance tests of creative thinking: Norms-technical manual figural (Streamlined) forms A and B. 259-274. Kristie L.215-240 Zhang. Genetic. H. Stoeber. (2006). (1997). (2009). and factors impacting gifted student engagement and achievement. IL: Scholastic Testing Service. (2006). (1998). K. Her research interests center on the social and emotional needs of gifted individuals. Anxiety and thinking styles.com at West Uni from Timisoara on November 24. A. 363-368. doi:10. 1. K.1016/j. 91-104. NY: Cambridge University Press. and quantitative reasoning.132.1177/001698620605000304 Sroufe.. L. P. where she directs the licensure program and teaches graduate courses in gifted education. including the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project and the National Survey of Student Engagement. 50. creativity.. where she provides analytic support to several large survey research projects. doi:10. Bensenville. Speirs Neumeister is an associate professor of educational psychology at Ball State University.. J. E.2009. 2015 . 48. Her research interests include gender issues in higher education.004 Tennent. Personality and Individual Differences. doi:10. 47. Multiplicative invalidity and its application to complex correlational models. L. D.. Gifted Child Quarterly.04.3. Gifted Child Quarterly.1016/j.sagepub.1177/001698620404800402 Speirs Neumeister. Creativity: What does it mean in the family context? Journal of Australian Research in Early Childhood Education. Perfectionism in high-ability students: Relational precursors and influences on achievement motivation. Personality and Individual Differences. Downloaded from jeg. L. Factors influencing the development of perfectionism in gifted college students. Perfectionism and the big five: Conscientiousness predicts longitudinal increases in self-oriented perfectionism. doi:10. Lambert is a member of the research analyst team at the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University. 47. & Berthelsen. Otto.