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Thinking Skills and Creativity 27 (2018) 13–24

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Thinking Skills and Creativity


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tsc

Mothers’ personality traits and the climate for creativity they build
T
with their children

Joanna Maria Kwaśniewskaa, , Jacek Gralewskib, Eliza Maria Witkowskaa,
Magdalena Kostrzewskaa, Izabela Lebudac
a
Department of Psychology, SWPS University of Social Sciences Humanities, Warsaw, Poland
b
Department of Educational Sciences, The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw, Poland
c
Institute of Psychology, University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland

AR TI CLE I NF O AB S T R A CT

Keywords: Parents’ attitudes, behaviors, and traits are significant predictors of their children’s creative
Climate for creativity ability. Not much is known, however, about intentional actions taken by parents to develop and
Mother support children’s creativity. Based on a literature review and a pilot study (Kwaśniewska &
Parent-child relationship Lebuda, 2017) we have formulated four factors that make up the climate for creativity in a
Big five personality traits
parent-child relationship. To verify the construct empirically, we administered an originally
designed questionnaire to mothers in Poland (N = 3073). The analysis of results confirms, as
predicted, that the following factors contribute to the climate for creativity in the home en-
vironment: encouragement to experience novelty and variety, encouragement of nonconformism,
support of perseverance in creative efforts, and encouragement to fantasize. Next, we in-
vestigated how mothers’ Big Five personality traits were linked to particular climate dimensions.
Our findings show that openness to experience is the key positive predictor of mothers’ activities
that shape the climate for creativity in her relationship with the child. The other Big Five traits
are associated either positively or negatively with particular dimensions of the climate for
creativity.

1. Introduction

Over the last three decades, the number of studies concerning the association between parents’ personality traits and their
caregiving behavior has been steadily increasing (Belsky & Barends, 2002; Denissen et al., 2009). The empirical data indicate that
caregivers’ personality affects their parenting styles and the quality of their relationship with children (e.g. Kochanska, Friesenborg,
Lange, & Martel, 2004; Maccoby, 1992; Olsen et al., 1999; Prinzie, Stams, Deković, Reijntjes, & Belsky, 2009; Skinner, Johnson, &
Snyder, 2005; Smith et al., 2007).
The role of child’s family in the development of creativity has been examined in numerous studies. The relationship between
children and their caregivers has been identified as one of the most crucial determinants of future realization of creative potential (e.g.,
Albert, 1994; Albert & Runco, 1986; Amabile, 1989; Colangelo, 1988; Goertzel, Goertzel, & Goertzel, 1978; Helson, 1968; Milgram &
Hong, 1999; Miller et al., 2012; Simonton, 1984; Walberg et. al., 1996). Most of the research conducted so far has been retrospective in
nature and concerned the familial context of professional or eminent creativity. However, not much is known about parents’ intentional
everyday actions supporting their children's creative abilities and attitudes. Our study addresses this aspect of the climate for creativity.


Corresponding author at: SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Chodakowska Street 19/31, 03-815 Warsaw, Poland.
E-mail address: jkwasniewska@swps.edu.pl (J.M. Kwaśniewska).

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2017.11.002
Received 4 April 2017; Received in revised form 27 October 2017; Accepted 6 November 2017
Available online 11 November 2017
1871-1871/ © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
J.M. Kwaśniewska et al. Thinking Skills and Creativity 27 (2018) 13–24

1.1. Climate for creativity in a parent-child relationship

The climate for child’s creativity in the family setting is understood as parents’ overall relatively constant behavioral pattern that
helps the child acquire a mindset, attitudes, personal qualities, and skills necessary for creativity. Parental engagement, attitudes,
behaviors, and family rules and routines, together with other family experiences that benefit the child’s emotional, intellectual and
social development, contribute to the climate for creativity.
Personal traits facilitating the realization of creative potential include independence/nonconformism (Barron, 1968; MacKinnon,
1962), openness to experience (Dollinger, Urban, & James, 2004; Kaufman et al., 2016; McCrae, 1987), the need for novelty (Houston
& Mednick, 1963), tolerance of ambiguity (Sternberg, 1988; Sternberg & Lubart, 1995), intrinsic motivation (Amabile, 1996;
Csikszentmihályi, 1996), and perseverance (Sternberg & Lubart, 1995). These qualities develop from a very early age and can be
nurtured by parents. However, as Carl Rogers (1954) pointed out, what is important for constructive creativity is not only internal but
also external factors, primarily those related to psychological safety and freedom (see Harrington, Block, & Block, 1987).
Based on a literature review and our previous study (Kwaśniewska & Lebuda, 2017), we identified the key external factors
important for promoting the child’s creativity, and we called them a climate conducive to the child’s creative development. While
outlining factors conducive to the development of creativity in parent-child relationship, we focused only on those parameters of the
relationship that are positive for the child’s overall development, ones that focus on intellectual stimulation and facilitating pro-
creative attitudes as well as supporting independence, nonconformism, and self-reliance (MacKinnon, 1962). We left out the factors
that were related to the realization of creative potential but could possibly lead to disharmony in other aspects of the child’s de-
velopment, such as lack of parental emotional involvement in the relationship with the child and emotional coldness towards the
child (Drevdahl, 1964; Halpin, 1973; MacKinnon, 1962; Miller & Gerard, 1979; Siegelman, 1973).
Despite the varied methodology of research on the family environment of eminent and professional creators, several common
points concerning the climate for creativity in the family context can be identified. Parents of highly creative individuals were open
and tolerant of their children’s different views, provided them with intellectual stimulation, encouraged the exploration of the
environment and sought innovative solutions, strengthened the autonomy of thinking, and granted their children the right to free
choice and the right to learn from their own mistakes (Goertzel, Goertzel, Goertzel, & Hansen, 2004; MacKinnon, 1962, 1978).
Qualitative research on mothers’ creative expression reveals that one of the main areas of mothers’ creative activity is building a
climate conductive to the child’s creative development. Expressing their creativity in the relationship with their children, mothers
engage in four categories of activity: encouraging the pursuit of novel and varied experience, supporting a nonconformist attitude and
independence, strengthening perseverance in the performance of creative tasks, and encouraging fantasizing (Kwaśniewska &
Lebuda, 2017). Because these results are consistent with the findings of previous studies on eminent creators’ family climate ex-
perience during childhood, we assume that these four factors are crucial to the climate for creativity in the parent-child relationship.
The first factor refers to the activities of parents who encourage their children to experience novelty and variety. Parents of highly
creative individuals have many books and magazines at home, with good-quality illustrations of art in them; they also have their own
musical instruments and offer their children opportunities to enjoy a variety of experiences outside the home, for example by taking
the children to art galleries (Foster, 2004; Gardner, 1993). When the child’s talent becomes evident, they make an effort to hire the
best tutors for their offspring (Bloom & Sosniak, 1981). Families of eminent creators accumulated cultural capital (Csikszentmihályi,
1999) by spending a large amount of time together, providing material and encouragement to support the existing aptitudes as well
as stimulate new interests and provide challenges − for example, they insisted that the children read, write, and work hard (Gute,
Gute, Nakamura, & Csikszentmihályi, 2008).
While creative people’ parents instilled in them the core values and enforced a set behavioral boundaries; they also encouraged
nonconformism (Gardner, 1993; Gute et al., 2008). Children whose parents accepted their independence and autonomy achieved
higher levels of creativity as adults and exhibited greater skills of creative and divergent thinking (Miller & Gerard, 1979; Runco &
Albert,1985). Parents of creative architects showed much respect towards their children and were confident that the children would
do the right thing (MacKinnon, 1962).
Caregivers supported their children’s perseverance in creative efforts. Parents of talented mathematicians and composers were
usually early and intensely involved in the development of their child’s talent. They not only offered enthusiasm and encouragement
but also served as models of passionate engrossment in the field (Bloom & Sosniak, 1981). Parents of eminent creators cultivated
integration by providing verbal and emotional support, tolerance of failure, and help in coping with difficult circumstances (Gute
et al., 2008).
Highly creative individuals usually had parents who encouraged them to fantasize. These parents’ children were engaged in
activities that might be perceived as not useful or reasonable, such as asking and answering silly questions, creative play, puppetry,
filmmaking, and family concerts. The parents were good storytellers and made up bedtime stories; at times they were childlike and
engaged at the child’s level; they also enjoyed writing and drawing (Foster, 2004). Such families did not lack a sense of humour and
had clear sets of values − including imagination, which was valued even higher than good grades and health (Dacey, 1989).
One of the main purposes of our study was the empirical verification of the above observations by examining the data from our
survey of mothers. Previous research shows that parents attitudes and activities connected with offering opportunities for children to
use their creative abilities, and it is mainly the mother who creates the climate that will either foster or inhibit the child’s creativity
(Halpin, 1973; Harrington et al., 1987; Michel & Dudek, 1991). What is more, even if today’s fathers are more involved in the
upbringing of their children, in Polish society it is still the mother who has the greatest impact on raising the child. Almost 40 percent
of mothers, compared to 1 percent of fathers, exercise their right to parental leave (Zgierska, 2012). Moreover, once a child appears in
the family, mothers reduce their working time three times more often than fathers do (Zgierska, 2012). Consequently, we focus on

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how mothers build the climate for creativity for their children. We also examine which of the mothers’ personality traits affect the
way the climate for creativity is built.

1.2. Mothers’ traits and children’s creativity

Parents’ traits are related to their children’s abilities and attitudes. It has been established that mother’s capability to think and
behave independently is related to the level of children’s creativity (Runco & Albert, 2005). Eminent creators’ mothers are dominant,
self-confident, independent, and effective in difficult situations (Goertzel et al., 2004). Mothers of more creative children are less
inhibited; they experience slighter internal constraints, care less about making a good impression, and respond to social expectations
to a relatively small extent (Domino, 1969). Children are more creative when their parents have a sense of internal safety and do not
care about adapting to social restrictions on behavior or to the rules regarding status and social roles (Miller & Gerard, 1979).
Moreover, parents of creative children show an unstereotypical level of masculinity and femininity (Runco & Albert, 2005) and
behave in a less conventional way regarding the stereotypical gender roles (Grant & Domino, 1976). In addition, mothers of highly
creative children are very involved in their own careers, lead autonomous and active lives (MacKinnon, 1962), and have well-
developed interests outside work (Dacey, 1989). In comparison to mothers of less creative children, they are more self-confident,
more accomplished in their work, and more “self-fulfilled” at home (Michel & Dudek, 1991).
Since personality traits affect the way mothers feel, think, and act (Belsky & Jaffee, 2006; Kochanska et al., 2004), we examine
how their Big Five personality traits are related to the climate for creativity in mother’s relationship with her child. In the following
paragraphs, we review reliable conceptualizations of the Big Five traits as well as conceptual arguments and empirical evidence
concerning the association between each of the Big Five traits and dimensions of the climate for creativity in a parent-child re-
lationship. We follow with a set of hypotheses for the current study.

1.2.1. Extraversion
Extraversion is a trait that refers to individual differences in reward sensitivity (Lucas, Diener, Grob, Suh, & Shao, 2000).
However, it is not clear whether these differences pertain to incentives in general or solely to social rewards (Ashton, Lee, &
Paunonen, 2002). A high level of extraversion has been found to be associated with positive affect (Watson & Pennebaker, 1989),
activity level and the intensity of social interactions (Lucas, Le, & Dyrenforth, 2008; McCrae & Costa, 1991), as well as the intensity of
social activities such as party games, joke-telling, or going to the movies.
Parental extraversion leads to a warmer relationship with the child (Belsky & Barends, 2002; Denissen et al., 2009). The “warmth”
refers here to “the extent to which parents intentionally foster individuality, self-regulation and self-assertion by being attuned,
supportive, and acquiescent to the child’s special needs and demands” (Baumrind, 1991, p. 62) and is essential for many positive
developmental outcomes, including mastery (Bugental & Grusec, 2006). Parental extraversion is also associated with a higher level of
parental nurturance (Metsäpelto & Pulkkinen, 2003), and behavioral control (Prinzie et al., 2009) defined as “the claims parents
make on the child to become integrated into the family” (Baumrind, 1991, p. 61–62). Extravert parents tend to provide assistance to
their children so that they can achieve goals by themselves and contingently verbalize the child’s emotions and actions. Accordingly,
it could be expected that extravert mothers would exhibit a tendency (H1) to encourage their children to experience novelty and
variety (as this requires a great deal of parental nurturance and engagement in social and recreational activities) and (H2) to support
their children’s perseverance in creative efforts (as they tend to be warm and responsive women with a high level of behavioral
control).

1.2.2. Agreeableness
The trait of agreeableness has been conceptualized as individual differences in the coordination (vs. opposition) of joint interests
(van Lieshout, 2000) which leads to more harmonious relationships. By contrast, a low level of agreeableness is associated with a
higher tendency to exhibit nonconformism or autonomy (Piedmont et al., 1991; Piedmont et al., 1992; McCrae and Costa, 1991).
Agreeable parents show more warmth to their children, building a more sensitive and responsive relationship with them (Belsky &
Barends, 2002). Children of such parents view them as more supportive (Branje, van Lieshout, & van Aken, 2004, 2005;). Moreover,
agreeableness is associated with higher support for autonomy (Prinzie et al., 2009), and agreeable mothers motivate children to
actively explore, discover, solve problems, and formulate their own views and objectives (Prinzie et al., 2004). We therefore pre-
dicted that mothers’ agreeableness would be (H3) negatively related to the encouragement of nonconformism and (H4) positively
related to the support of perseverance in creative efforts.

1.2.3. Conscientiousness
Conscientiousness is a factor that refers to individual differences in the executive regulation of goal-related performance (van
Lieshout, 2000). Furthermore, individuals who are highly conscientious have a tendency to be organized and future-oriented, hard-
working, and goal-oriented, and they are more likely to carry tasks through to completion (Costa & McCrae, 1998). They also have a
better developed sense of discipline with respect to learning (Blickle, 1996). Also, parental conscientiousness has been found to be
associated with higher warmth and higher behavioral control (Prinzie et al., 2009).
Therefore, we predicted that mothers’ conscientiousness would be (H5) positively related to encouragement to experience novelty
and variety (because it requires a high level of engagement in nurturing the child), (H6) negatively related to encouragement of
nonconformist behaviors (because when mothers themselves are conventional, they will expect their children to be alike), and (H7)
positively related to the support of perseverance in creative efforts (because conscientious mothers are hard-working and goal-

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oriented, so they can teach their children the same).

1.2.4. Emotional stability


The trait of emotional stability (whose Big Five opposite is called neuroticism) has been defined as individual differences in
negative affect and stress reactivity (Matthews, 2004). A low level of emotional stability is associated with depressive affect. Parental
emotional stability is associated with more competent caregiving (Prinzie et al., 2004), warmth, behavioral control, and stronger
autonomy support (Prinzie et al., 2009). Accordingly, we hypothesized that mother’s emotional stability would be (H8) positively
related to encouragement to experience novelty and variety and (H9) to support of perseverance in creative effort.

1.2.5. Openness to experience


The trait of openness to experience has been conceptualized as involving a high level of cognitive activity and relates to the
complexity of an individual’s mental life (Costa & McCrae, 1985). This trait is associated with high levels of intellectual curiosity,
creativity, imagination, tendency to defy conventions, artistic and aesthetic interests, emotional and fantasy richness, and un-
conventionality (Batey & Furnham, 2006; Carson, Peterson, & Higgins, 2003; DeYoung, Peterson, & Higgins, 2001; Feist & Barron, 2003;
Hirsh, DeYoung, & Peterson, 2009; King, Walker, & Broyles, 1996; McCrae, 1996; Silvia, Nusbaum, Berg, Martin, & O’Conner, 2009).
Probably, mothers highly open to experience expect their children to develop a high level of this trait and other associated traits. Such
mothers may know the creative process with its ups and downs from their own experience. There is some evidence that openness to
experience is positively related to parental warmth, nurturance, and behavioral control (Prinzie et al., 2009), but negatively related to
self-reported levels of restrictiveness (Metsäpelto & Pulkkinen, 2003) − an attitude calling for “a hierarchical structure in which parents
command and children obey” (McCrae, 1996, p. 329). In other words, mothers who are highly open to experience are engaged,
supportive, and imaginative. At the same time, they allow children to differ and help them develop their individuality. Therefore, we
predicted that mothers highly open to experience would (H10) encourage their children to experience novelty and variety, (H11)
encourage nonconformism, (H12) support perseverance in creative effort, (H13) and encourage fantasizing.

1.3. Present study

Our research had two main aims. The first one is to verify whether the factors we identified through the review of literature
contribute to the right climate for creativity in parent-child relationships. The other aim is to establish how the subjects’ personality
traits are related to taking up activities that benefit the climate for creativity in parent-child relationships.

2. Method

2.1. Participants

Since mothers provide most care and rearing, in Poland, it is them that this study was focused on. Mothers (n = 3073) aged 17–56
years took part in the survey (M = 33.9, SD = 5.34). The participants were well distributed across Poland, both geographically and
with respect to the population size of their residential area (55% resided in cities with a population of over 200,000, 14% lived in
cities with a population of 50,000 to 200,000, 20% lived in towns with a population under 50,000, and 11% lived in villages). The
surveyed mothers had various numbers of children in various ages (M = 6.37, SD = 5.26). Most respondents had one (43%) or two
(45%) children. Only 10% had three children, while very few (2%) had four or more children.

2.2. Measures

We used two instruments in this study.

2.2.1. The ten-item personality inventory


(Gosling, Rentfrow, & Swann, 2003) in the Polish adaptation (TIPI-PL) by Sorokowska, Słowińska, Zbieg, and Sorokowski (2014)
was used to measure the Big Five personality traits. The TIPI-PL consists of ten items (two per trait). The TIPI-PL items were rated on a
seven-point Likert scale, from 1 − strongly disagree to 7 − strongly agree. The TIPI-PL shows high convergence with the commonly
used Big Five Inventory (Gosling et al., 2003) and has demonstrated good three-week test-retest reliability (Sorokowska et al., 2014).
In this study, four of the five scales were characterized by low, but acceptable internal consistency (Agreeableness α = 0.61, Ex-
troversion α = 0.67, Emotional Stability α = 0.67, Conscientiousness α = 0.68). Only Openness to Experience had a very low re-
liability index, α = 0.39. Comparable values of internal consistency of individual personality traits (0.50, 0.70, 0.65, 0.76, and 0.47,
respectively) were obtained in a study of the adaptation of TIPI-PL, using an Internet application (Sorokowska et al., 2014).

2.2.2. The climate for creativity in parent-child relationship questionnaire


(CCP-CRQ) is an original, 24-item self-administered instrument developed for parents of children from preschool age to ado-
lescence, measuring the following four dimensions of the climate for creativity in the parent-child relationships: Encouragement to
Experience Novelty and Variety, Encouragement of Nonconformism, Support of Perseverance in Creative Efforts, and Encouragement
to Fantasize. Each scale consists of six items, some of which are reverse-coded in order to minimize the influence of the style of filling
out the questionnaire. To reduce the likelihood of proximity error, the items for each factor of the climate for creativity were placed

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alternately (see Appendix A & B). Using a seven-point response scale, participants rate the degree of their agreement with each item.
To reduce the social desirability effect, the questionnaire’s title does not reveal the true focus of the study.
To ensure the validity of the instrument, we conducted a pilot survey among 27 mothers aged from 26 to 53, representing various
professions and age cohorts, who had from 1 to 5 children (M = 2.07, Me = 2, SD = 0.96) (Kwaśniewska & Lebuda, 2017). Mothers
were invited through telephone conversations and later via an official e-mail to take part in the survey. The instructions and open-
ended questions (e.g., What do you do to develop your child’s creativity?) were designed to encourage an open narrative focus on the
meaning women ascribed to creativity in the role of the mother and how they realized their creativity. The answers were subject to
detailed thematic analysis in search of repeated patterns of meaning (Braun & Clarke, 2006), resulting, among other things, in a set of
items to measure the four components of the climate for creativity in the parent-child relationship: encouragement to experience
novelty and variety, encouragement of nonconformism, support of perseverance in creative efforts, encouragement to fantasize
(Kwaśniewska & Lebuda, 2017). Based on the results of the pilot study, which are consistent with conclusions derived from the
literature review, we formulated the final sounds of the individual statements in the CCP-CRQ. The references to the natural language
of the mothers from the pilot study was aimed at ensuring the ecological validity of the inventory.

2.3. Procedure

The survey was conducted on-line. Mothers were invited to take part in the study through social media channels and by individual
e-mail invitations. The participants were informed about the aim, stages, and confidentiality of the study and were asked to consent
to take part in the study. Next, they completed the two survey instruments described above. Once all the data had been gathered and
analyzed, those respondents who wished were briefed about the overall results of the survey. The participants were not rewarded for
completing the questionnaires.

2.4. Overview of data analysis

We conducted the analysis in three steps. In the first one, was performed an analysis of the validity of the Climate for Creativity in
Parent-Child Relationship Questionnaire (CCP-CRQ) by defining its internal structure using the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). In
the second step, we determined the reliability of the CCP-CRQ using two methods: (i) maximum reliability H (Hancock & Mueller,
2001), estimated based on the factor loadings of individual items identified in confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), and (ii) the
Cronbach's α internal consistency. Given this approach, the Cronbach's coefficient α should be considered a very conservative
measure of reliability, showing the lowest reliability of the test (Raykov, 1997, 1998). In the third step, we computed the re-
lationships between the different scales of the CCP-CRQ and the TIPI questionnaire. In this step, we performed structural equation
modeling (SEM; see Fig. 1) to verify the hypotheses (H1–H13). Both CFA and SEM were performed using the MPlus 7.11 package
(Muthen, 1998), with WLSMV estimator dedicated to order data.

Fig. 1. Theoretical model of relations between mothers’ personality traits and the dimensions of climate for creativity in parent-child relationship.

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3. Results

3.1. Validity and reliability of the climate for creativity in parent-child relationship questionnaire

The validity of the Climate for Creativity in Parent-Child Relationship Questionnaire was controlled on the basis of its factor
structure. For this purpose, we conducted a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), in which two alternative models of the latent
structure of the tool were tested: one-factor and four-factor models. The aim was to analyze the relationships between the various
groups of items in the CCP-CRQ and a smaller number of latent factors, assumed at the stage of designing the questionnaire. The key
question at this stage of the analysis was whether the CCP-CRQ is a single or multidimensional questionnaire. Therefore, first we
decided to test a model assuming a one-factor structure of the CCP-CRQ, in which all the 24 items in the questionnaire are described
by one general measure of the climate for creativity in the parent-child relationship. Secondly, we decided to test the structure with
four latent factors, consistent with our assumptions at the stage of selecting indicators and constructing individual items of the CCP-
CRQ. The multidimensional model assumed a four-factor structure of the CCP-CRQ, according to which individual items of the
questionnaire correspond to four intercorrelated latent factors: (i) encouragement to experience novelty and variety (ii) en-
couragement of nonconformism (iii) support of perseverance in creative efforts and (iv) encouragement to fantasize.
To evaluate particular CFA models, we used absolute fit indices: chi-square (χ2) and Root Mean Square Error of Approximation
(RMSEA). The value of these indices should be as low as possible − preferably close to zero. In addition, it is recommended for the
test value of χ2 not to be statistically significant, a condition which may be especially difficult to meet in large samples (Hooper,
Coughlan, & Mullen, 2008; Jöreskog & Sörbom, 1993). As regards RMSEA, it is assumed that values lower than 0.01 indicate a perfect
fit of the model, values lower than 0.05 indicate a good fit, and values between 0.05 and 0.08 indicate a poor fit (Hooper et al., 2008;
Hu & Bentler, 1999; Marsh, Hau, & Wen, 2004). In the presented analyses, we also used relative fit indices: Comparative Fit Index
(CFI) and Tucker Lewis Index (TLI). It is understood that in a well-fitted model, CFI and TLI values should exceed 0.90 or even 0.95
(Hooper et al., 2008; Hu & Bentler, 1999). In the case of comparable models (one- and four-factor models), we assumed that the
better one would be the one whose absolute fit indices (RMSEA) were lower than 0.80, and whose CFI and TLI values were higher
than 0.90.
The four-factor model fitted the data better, χ2 = 3741.517, df = 246, p < 0.001, RMSEA = 0.065, 90% CI for RMSEA [0.063,
0.067], CFI = 0.924; TLI = 0.914 than the one-factor model, χ2 = 20315.602, df = 299, p < 0.001, RMSEA = 0.141, 90% CI for
RMSEA [0.139, 0.143], CFI = 0.597; TLI = 0.562, respectively, Δχ2 = 16574.085, Δdf = 53, p < 0.001. The four-factor solution
was characterized by a weak but acceptable fit, which indicates that, as assumed by the authors, the CCP-CRQ consists of four
intercorrelated factors describing the climate for creativity in the parent-child relationship. The specific characteristics of the four-
factor model are presented in Table 1.
The first factor consisted of six items regarding encouragement to experience novelty and variety. Particularly, it relates to
mothers encouraging their children to experience a variety of new stimuli and to think and act outside the box. The factor loadings of
individual items describing this factor ranged from 0.549 to 0.715.
The second factor consisted of six items describing the mothers’ encouragement of child’s nonconformism. The content of these
items mainly concerned the mothers’ consent to and encouragement of the children’s violation of established rules of behavior and
social norms and crossing borders. The factor loadings of individual items describing this factor ranged from 0.581 to 0.709.
The third factor consisted of six items and described the support of perseverance in creative efforts. The contents of the items
forming this factor concerned the appreciation of children’s ideas, supporting the children in the activities they engage in, and
motivating them to continue working even in the case of failure. The factor loadings of individual items describing this factor ranged
from 0.575 to 0.751.
The fourth factor consisted of six items that described mothers’ focus on encouraging their children to fantasize. The factor
loadings of individual items describing this factor ranged from 0.577 to 0.762.
Each scale of the Climate for Creativity in Parent-Child Relationship Questionnaire had acceptable reliability. The values of
internal consistency determined by the conservative method of Cronbach's α ranged from 0.75 to 0.79. The reliabilities of the latent
factors expressed as Hancock’s H (Hancock & Mueller, 2001), were slightly higher and ranged from 0.81 to 0.85. These results
indicate an average reliability of individual CCP-CRQ scales.

3.2. The analysis of relations between mothers’ personality traits and the dimensions of climate for creativity in parent-child relationship

In the next step, we established the descriptive statistics and intercorrelations of all variables used in the research (Table 2). First,
we performed an analysis of the structure of each instrument used in this study.
Intercorrelations of the scales of the Climate for Creativity in Parent-Child Relationship Questionnaire ranged from 0.05 to 0.61. It
is worth noting that the scale referred to as Encouragement to Experience Novelty and Variety was strongly correlated with the
Support of Perseverance in Creative Efforts scale and with Encouragement to Fantasize scale and weakly correlated with the scale
referred to as Encouragement of Nonconformism. The Encouragement of Nonconformism scale correlated very weakly with the
Support of Perseverance in Creative Efforts and strongly with the Encouragement to Fantasize scale. Generally, the Encouragement of
Nonconformism scale proved to be the least strongly associated with the other three CCP-CRQ scales. On the other hand, there was a
strong relationship between the Support of Perseverance in Creative Efforts and Encouragement to Fantasize scales.
The individual personality traits were found to be weakly positively intercorrelated. The exception was an average positive
relationship between Extraversion and Emotional Stability (r = 0.45) and a very weak negative relationship between

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Table 1
Descriptive Characteristics and Standardized Factor Loadings of CCP-CRQ Statements.

Statements M SD Factor loadings

F1 F2 F3 F4

1 I try to suggest to my child unconventional ways to solve problems. 5.12 1.33 0.578
2 I point to my child the multitude of colors of life and its complexity. 5.94 1.14 0.631
3 I strengthen my child’s ideas. 6.04 1.00 0.630
4 I organize my child's time so that he/she would have the opportunity to learn new things. 5.20 1.24 0.549
5 I like to improvise with my child in areas unknown to us. 4.98 1.42 0.697
6 I often encourage my child to think out of the box. 5.35 1.24 0.715
7 I do not want my child to stand out from the group. (R) 4.13 1.79 0.630
8 I get satisfaction from knowing that my child respects the designated boundaries also 4.35 1.69 0.672
while playing. (R)
9 I make an effort so that my child’s approach to life is pragmatic and down-to-earth. (R) 3.97 1.62 0.597
10 It is important to me that my child is always being polite. (R) 5.13 1.67 0.709
11 I prefer to choose for my child well-tested games/activities also used by other parents. (R) 4.43 1.51 0.581
12 I am glad that my child has been taught not to break any rules. (R) 4.93 1.57 0.698
13 When my child has problems I support and motivate him/her to see many solutions. 6.03 1.02 0.751
14 I always value my child’s ideas even if they are far from perfection. 5.87 1.15 0.628
15 I try to show my child different sides of the same situation. 5.91 1.07 0.686
16 I show my child that making mistakes is natural. 6.37 0.90 0.677
17 I teach my child perseverance. 5.89 1.07 0.575
18 I attentively accompany my child through failures, because I realize that they teach 5.61 1.24 0.609
valuable lessons.
19 I encourage my child to fantasize. 5.75 1.27 0.640
20 I sometimes ask my child “silly” questions or respond in an odd way. 5.37 1.61 0.577
21 Together, we play original games and complete activities that others have never dreamed 4.46 1.63 0.632
of.
22 While coming up with activities for my child I am open to his/her suggestions. 5.81 1.07 0.732
23 I sometimes engage my child in my “weird” ideas. 5.24 1.50 0.762
24 I talk with my child about imaginary, funny and strange situations and ideas. 5.69 1.26 0.739
Reliability coefficient Maximum reliability H 0.81 0.82 0.83 0.85
Cronbach's α α 0.76 0.79 0.75 0.79

Note. All factor loadings are significant at p < 0.001. (R) − reverse-coded items.

Table 2
Descriptive Statistics and Intercorrelations Between Study Variables.

Variables M SD Intercorrelations

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1 Encouragement to Experience Novelty and Variety 32.63 5.00 0.10*** 0.56*** 0.61*** 0.28*** 0.18*** 0.11*** 0.23*** 0.41***
2 Encouragement of Nonconformism 26.95 6.89 0.05** 0.19*** −0.02 −0.02 −0.22*** 0.08*** 0.40***
3 Support of Perseverance in Creative Efforts 35.69 4.34 0.53*** 0.28*** 0.26*** 0.18*** 0.22*** 0.27***
4 Encouragement to Fantasize 32.33 5.87 0.23*** 0.16*** 0.05** 0.17*** 0.42***
5 Extraversion 5.76 1.24 0.26*** 0.18*** 0.45*** 0.30***
6 Agreeableness 5.43 1.17 0.17*** 0.26*** 0.12***
7 Conscientiousness 5.18 1.41 0.16*** −0.07***
8 Emotional Stability 4.51 1.51 0.17***
9 Openness to Experience 5.28 1.14

Note. ***p < 0.001; **p < 0.01.

Conscientiousness and Openness to Experience (r = −0.07). The structure of relationships between individual personality traits
proved in this respect to be similar to the results obtained during the adaptation of the TIPI (Sorokowska et al., 2014).
The Big Five personality traits generally remained weakly positively related to the factors of the climate for creativity between a
mother and a child. The correlation coefficients with the Big Five personality traits ranged from 0.11 to 0.41 for Encouragement to
Experience Novelty and Variety, from 0.18 to 0.28 for Support of Perseverance in Creative Efforts, and from 0.05 to 0.42 for
Encouragement to Fantasize. The structure of the relationships between the Big Five personality traits and the mothers’
Encouragement of Nonconformism proved to be more complex. There was in fact a very weak positive relationship between the
mothers’ Encouragement of Nonconformism and Emotional Stability, an average positive relationship between Encouragement of
Nonconformism and Openness to Experience, as well as a weak negative correlation between Encouragement of Nonconformism and
Conscientiousness. Encouragement of Nonconformism was, however, not correlated with Extraversion and Agreeableness.
Next, we proceeded to testing the formulated hypotheses using structural equation modeling (SEM; see Fig. 1). Because each of
the five personality traits was measured by two indicators only, which makes the identification of the model problematic (Marsh,

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J.M. Kwaśniewska et al. Thinking Skills and Creativity 27 (2018) 13–24

Table 3
The Analysis of Relations Between Mothers’ Personality Traits and the Dimensions of Climate for Creativity in Parent-Child Relationship (Effects for Structural
Equation Modeling).

Dependent variable Predictor B SE β Hypothesis

2
Encouragement to Experience Novelty and Variety (LF) (R = 0.257) Openness to Experience 0.42 0.02 0.41*** H10
Emotional Stability 0.08 0.02 0.11*** H8
Conscientiousness 0.08 0.01 0.10*** H5
Extraversion 0.11 0.02 0.11*** H1

Encouragement of Nonconformism (LF) (R2 = 0.276) Openness to Experience 0.49 0.02 0.47*** H11
Conscientiousness −0.17 0.01 −0.20*** H6
Agreeableness −0.03 0.02 −0.03 (ns) H3

Support of Perseverance in Creative Efforts (LF) (R2 = 0.220) Openness to Experience 0.25 0.02 0.25*** H12
Emotional Stability 0.06 0.02 0.08*** H9
Conscientiousness 0.12 0.01 0.15*** H7
Agreeableness 0.17 0.02 0.18*** H4
Extraversion 0.12 0.02 0.13*** H2

Encouragement to Fantasize (LF) (R2 = 0.194) Openness to Experience 0.43 0.02 0.44*** H13

Note. (ns) − p > 0.05 ***p < 0.001; (LF) − Latent Factor.

Hau, Balla, & Grayson, 1998), the Big Five personality traits were included in the model as observed variables. The model proved to
be weakly though acceptably fitted to the data, χ2 = 3910.794, df = 353, p < 0.001, RMSEA = 0.055, 90% CI for RMSEA [0.053,
0.056], CFI = 0.91, TLI = 0.90. The personality traits explained 25.7% of variance in Encouragement to Experience Novelty and
Variety, 27.6% of variance in Encouragement of Nonconformism, 22.0% of variance in Support of Perseverance in Creative Efforts,
and 19.4% of variance in Encouragement to Fantasize. Encouragement to Experience Novelty and Variety was predicted by Openness
to experience (β = 0.41), Emotional Stability (β = 0.11), Conscientiousness (β = 0.10), and Extraversion (β = 0.11); Encourage-
ment of Nonconformism was predicted by Openness to Experience (β = 0.47) and Conscientiousness (β = −0.20); Support of
Perseverance in Creative Efforts was predicted by Openness to Experience (β = 0.25), Emotional Stability (β = 0.08), Con-
scientiousness (β = 0.15), Agreeableness (β = 0.18), and Extraversion (β = 0.13), and Encouragement to Fantasize was predicted by
Openness to Experience (β = 0.44) (p < 0.001 in each case). The analysis showed that Agreeableness was not a statistically sig-
nificant predictor for Encouragement of Nonconformism (β = −0.03, p > 0.05) (Table 3).

4. Discussion

Parental attitudes, behaviors, and traits are significant predictors of a child's creative ability (e.g., Albert, 1994; Albert & Runco,
1986; Csikszentmihályi, 1996; Gute et al., 2008; Runco & Albert, 2005; Walberg et al., 1996). Not much is known, however, about the
intentional actions taken by parents to develop children’s creativity and pro-creative attitudes. Based on the review of the available
research into the family climate in childhood, and based on the qualitative analysis of the pilot study (Kwaśniewska & Lebuda, 2017),
we identified four factors that make up the climate for creativity in a parent-child relationship. The aim of this study was to verify
these assumptions empirically. As predicted, the climate for creativity in a parent-child relationship comprises four factors, referred
to as: Encouragement to Experience Novelty and Variety, Encouragement of Nonconformism, Support of Perseverance in Creative
Efforts, and Encouragement to Fantasize. These factors describe the relatively stable patterns of behaviors and attitudes that mothers
manifest in the relationship with their children, aimed at helping them acquire a mindset, attitudes, as well as personal qualities and
skills necessary for creativity.
Another aim of the study was to check what mothers’ personality traits are conducive to the undertaking of actions that build a
climate for creativity in their relationship with their children. As hypothesized, it has been shown that mothers highly open to
experience take action conducive to the realization of their children's creative potential within four climate dimensions (H10, H11,
H12, H13). Mother’s emotional stability is a good predictor of the encouragement she gives her children to seek novelty and variety
(H8) and of support of perseverance in creative effort (H9). Mother’s conscientiousness is positively associated with encouraging the
child to experience novelty and variety (H5) and supporting them in creative effort (H7) and negatively associated with encouraging
the child to engage in nonconformist behaviors (H6). Agreeableness is positively linked to a tendency to support the child in creative
effort (H4), but, what is surprising, the association between the mother's agreeableness and the tendency to encourage the child to
engage in nonconformist behaviors is not significant (H3). Extroversion is a positive predictor of encouraging the child to seek
novelty and variety (H1) and of support in creative effort (H2).
The relationship between openness to experience and all of the dimensions of the favorable climate for creativity in the re-
lationship between the mother and the child can be treated as a measure of the accuracy of the proposed theoretical tools. It is known
that the dominant role of the mother’s openness to experience in shaping the climate for the development of skills and pro-creative
attitudes in the child is supported by theory − as it is involved in both the creation of warm atmosphere and support of autonomy
(Metsäpelto & Pulkkinen, 2003; Prinzie et al., 2009). Furthermore, we can assume that the tendency for creating a climate conducive
to the child’s creativity is due to the mother's own preferences as to forms of leisure. Mothers characterized by cognitive openness
have a high demand for cognitive activity; they are curious, have artistic interests, and prefer unconventional solutions (Carson et al.,

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J.M. Kwaśniewska et al. Thinking Skills and Creativity 27 (2018) 13–24

2003; DeYoung et al., 2001; Feist & Barron, 2003; Hirsh et al., 2009; King et al., 1996; McCrae, 1996). As a result, they probably
propose similar types of action to their children.
Contrary to the assumptions postulating a negative relationship between mother’s agreeableness and encouragement of the child’s
nonconformism, the analysis showed no such relationship (H3). We can assume that these variables relate to different behaviors −
mother’s agreeableness measured by the TIPI primarily determines the tendency in interpersonal relationships, while the
Encouragement of Children’s Nonconformism refers to the shaping of a tendency to choose unconventional behavior and challenge
the existing norms, thus encouraging autonomy (Prinzie et al., 2004, 2009).

4.1. Limitations and future research

The present study is not free of limitations. It should be noted that the accuracy of personality measurement was limited,
especially due to the design of the tool, wherein each factor is represented by only two items (Sorokowska et al., 2014). What is more,
both measures used in the study are self-report instruments. Although both personality traits and climate are commonly investigated
using self-report questionnaires (Hunter, Bedell, & Mumford, 2007; Kurdek, Fine, & Sinclair, 1995; Mathisen, & Einarsen, 2004;
McLellan & Nicholl, 2013), it is important to bear in mind that surveys using this type of tool are burdened with many errors (e.g.,
leniency, central tendency, proximity or contrast error). Regardless of the design of the tool, it is difficult in the research procedure to
eliminate the influence of participants' attitudes towards the problem. One particular threat is “social desirability bias,” a tendency to
respond in accordance with socially acceptable values, which, in the respondent’s opinion, may indicate good adjustment, and
another threat is the “respondent’s tendency to agree” with the content of the statements submitted (Paulhus, 1991). Bearing in mind
the above limitations, our findings should be treated with some caution.
It is worthwhile, however, to consider the arguments about the respondents’ tendency to respond according to social expectations
in order to take into account a broader context. Although in Poland there has been an increased interest in creativity (Gralewski,
2016), and although individualism and independence as socialization goals are more and more valued (Tulviste & Mizera, 2010), the
traditional values are still estimated higher than the ones associated with self-realization (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010). In
Poland, collectivist orientation is largely underpinned by and related to the promotion of values associated with interdependence in
upbringing and education (Keller & Lamm, 2005; Tulviste & Mizera, 2010). It can be assumed that, in Poland, social attitudes towards
creativity are not clear enough, expressive, or central, with the result that the participants in the study do not feel obligated to exhibit
high support of their children’s creative abilities, especially independence and nonconformism. However, as we hope that the
questionnaire is going to be used worldwide rather than only in Poland, the true focus of the study is not revealed in the title in order
to reduce social desirability effect.
Also, given the weaknesses of the questionnaires, when working on the CCP-CRQ, we tried to meet the psychometric requirements
and reduce the measurement error. To this end, referring to the pilot study (Kwaśniewska & Lebuda, 2017), we have included a
number of indicators of each factor of the climate for creativity in parent-child relationship. In addition, we have used reverse-coded
items, we have conducted a massive study and calculated the results using restrictive analytic methods such as confirmatory factor
analysis.
Another weakness of this study is that the participants were mothers only, so it is not certain whether the postulated theoretical
model of the climate for creativity in the family would have held true if fathers had been included or used instead. It would have been
interesting to investigate also the consistency of actions undertaken to build a climate for creativity in parent-child relationships.
Unfortunately, at the presented stage of the study, children − who obviously contribute to the relationship in building a home
climate − did not participate in the research. We believe that their predispositions and competencies can be important mediators of
the relationships described. In further stages of exploration in the subject, to gain a better understanding of the meaning and con-
ditions of a creative climate in the family context, it would be advisable to investigate the interactions between child’s and mother’s
personality traits and the mother’s and child’s creative skills. Such information will be a further measure of the accuracy of the tool
presented here.

4.2. Implications for practice

Creativity is a social phenomenon, and in order to understand it, it is necessary to take into account not only the person’s
individual resources but also contextual factors (Csikszentmihályi, 1996; Csikszentmihályi, 1999). One of the key factors in the
realization of creative potential is the family environment (e.g. Albert, 1994; Albert & Runco, 1986; Amabile, 1989; Colangelo, 1988;
Goertzel et al., 1978; Gute et al., 2008; Helson, 1968; Milgram & Hong, 1999; Miller et al., 2012; Runco & Albert, 2005; Walberg,
1981;). Previous studies have shown that the climate for creativity in parent-child relationships, parental support for the child's ideas
and independence, and acceptance of the child’s autonomy are positively associated with creative potential (Harrington et al., 1987).
In order to measure climate for creativity in parent-child relationship, we have developed a questionnaire (CCP-CRQ), which allows
for identifying parental behaviors that promote creativity in four areas: encouragement to experience novelty and variety, en-
couragement of nonconformism, support of perseverance in creative efforts, and encouragement to fantasize. The use of this tool can
help to better understand the daily activities of parents, especially mothers, to support children’s creative development and, in the
future, may lead to more effective formulation of strategies to support creativity in the family environment.

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5. Conclusion

Climate for creativity in the mother-child relationship is the result of four types of mother’s activities: encouragement to ex-
perience novelty and variety, encouragement of nonconformism, support of perseverance in creative efforts, and encouragement to
fantasize. The mother's personality traits are significantly associated with pursuing each of them. Openness to experience is of
particular importance, as it is associated with each dimension of climate supporting the child's creative potential. All other traits from
the Big Five model are positively correlated with the mother taking supportive action in order to help the child take up and persevere
in creative endeavours. Emotional stability, conscientiousness, and extraversion are associated with the mother's tendency to en-
courage the child to experience novelty and variety. Highly conscientious mothers are not willing to encourage the child to question
or break existing rules or oppose norms.

Acknowledgments

We thank Sylwia Izabela Pietraczyk for her assistance with data collection and Krzysztof Lucjan Róg for the initial version of
statistical analysis.
Jacek Gralewski and Izabela Lebuda were supported by grants “Iuventus Plus”- program of the Polish Ministry of Science and
Higher Education (Project No. respectively IP2014 013373; IP2014 025273).

Appendix A. Supplementary data

Supplementary data associated with this article can be found, in the online version, at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2017.11.
002.

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