Linking Trauma to Posttraumatic Growth and Mental Health Through Emotional and Cognitive Creativity

Hod Orkibi, Neta Ram-Vlasov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The association between adverse life events and creativity has almost exclusively been investigated qualitatively and with eminent creators. Also, the mediating roles of emotional creativity (the ability to experience novel and appropriate emotions), divergent thinking (the cognitive ability to think of multiple ideas), and creative self-efficacy (CSE; one’s confidence in their ability to be creative) have not been explored simultaneously or in this context. The goal of the present study was to test a multiple mediation model which theorized that exposure to traumatic events would be associated with posttraumatic growth (PTG) and mental health symptoms through emotional creativity, divergent thinking, and CSE in the general population. Findings from a sample of 252 Israeli adults (73% females, aged 19–58), of whom 64% had been exposed to war as civilians, showed that exposure to a greater number of traumatic events was related to higher CSE scores, emotional creativity, and overall divergent thinking. A path analysis to test indirect effects indicated that emotional creativity (but not divergent thinking) followed by CSE mediated the positive association between exposure and PTG as well as the negative association between exposure and mental health symptoms. CSE mediated the association between emotional creativity and divergent thinking to both PTG and mental health symptoms. The results may provide a better understanding of possible paths through which exposure to traumatic events relates to psychological outcomes, highlighting the role of CSE as a mediator that may account for how emotional and cognitive creative abilities are associated with PTG and mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-430
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Psychological Association.


  • creative self-efficacy
  • divergent thinking
  • emotional creativity
  • posttraumatic growth
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Linking Trauma to Posttraumatic Growth and Mental Health Through Emotional and Cognitive Creativity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this