Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 143-152

First online:

Divergent thinking and self-esteem in preadolescents and adolescents

  • Gail A. Jaquish
  • , Richard E. RippleAffiliated withStone Hall, Cornell University

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The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between divergent thinking and self-esteem in preadolescents and adolescents. A second focus pertained to sex differences in the dependent variables. A total of 115 White middle class subjects ranging in age from 10–17 years responded to a personal data inventory, a self-esteem measure, and a taped auditory free-response exercise in divergent thinking. Subjects were categorized for data analysis into two age groups, preadolescents and adolescents. Scores were obtained for fluency, flexibility, and originality of thought, and for self-esteem. Adolescents were significantly more fluent and flexible than preadolescents. The two age groups did not differ significantly in orginality or self-esteem. Self-esteem correlated significantly with divergent thinking in preadolescents only. Female adolescents scored significantly higher on all dependent measures than adolescent males; there were no sex differences in preadolescents. Results are discussed from both an intra- and interstage developmental perspective on adolescence.