Creativity and mental illness: prevalence rates in writers and their first-degree relatives

NC Andreasen
Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242.

Rates of mental illness were examined in 30 creative writers, 30 matched control subjects, and the first-degree relatives of both groups. The writers had a substantially higher rate of mental illness, predominantly affective disorder, with a tendency toward the bipolar subtype. There was also a higher prevalence of affective disorder and creativity in the writers’ first-degree relatives, suggesting that these traits run together in families and could be genetically mediated.

Am J Psychiatry 1987; 144:1288-1292
Copyright © 1987 by American Psychiatric Association


A study with higher numbers and much different methodology

Psychology Today’s denial of a link is based on a study with a population of 1