The Role of Creative Thinking in Resilience After Hurricane Katrina

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This study hypothesized that creative thinking can help predict the process of resilience, manifested as subjective well-being despite exposure to adversity, either directly or with moderation of personality and demographic variables. Eighty survivors of hurricane Katrina who have lost their homes were asked to respond to measures of creative thinking, perception of adversity, well-being, a short personality inventory, and a demographic questionnaire. Supplementary qualitative exploration of 17 participants' experiences augmented understanding within contextual framework. Findings suggest that originality and flexibility are significant predictors of well-being when personality traits and demographic variables are taken into account. Specifically, originality was found to be a significant predictor for extroversion, which was a significant predictor of life satisfaction measure. In addition, flexibility and originality were significant predictors of clinical stress and life satisfaction for the African American participants but not for the European American participants; originality and flexibility were also significant predictors of resilience for participants reporting greater income disparity. Triangulation of interviews with these findings further support the notion that manifestations of creative thinking as resilience are likely moderated by SES, culture and social structure, and might be masked under condition of social privilege and prevalence of resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-123
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • creative thinking
  • flexibility
  • natural disaster
  • originality
  • resilience


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