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Art and the schizophrenic spectrum

Holt, Nicola


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Nicola Holt
Associate Professor in Psychology


P Crawford

P Kadetz


There is an ‘art and health’ paradox in the literature on the schizophrenic spectrum, since features of the schizophrenic spectrum have been argued to facilitate artistic creativity (e.g., by enabling novel perspectives, images or insights), suggesting that artistic creativity is or can be a product of ‘mental illness’ (Richards, 2001); yet, artistic creativity has been described as therapeutic and facilitating recovery from schizophrenia (Lynch, Holttum & Huet, 2019). The paradox that ‘mental illness’ both ‘causes’ creativity and is ‘cured’ by creativity is in part due to oversimplification of both constructs (‘artistic creativity’ and ‘schizophrenic spectrum’). For example, conflating the many contexts, forms and uses of artistic creativity, making assumptions of causality (and linear relationships), and not considering other contributing factors (e.g., protective and risk factors) (Holt, 2020; Kaufman & Sexton, 2006). In this chapter the evidence for both sides of the paradox will be considered. Firstly, to help unravel complexities, the constructs of schizophrenia and the schizophrenic spectrum will be described.


Holt, N. (2023). Art and the schizophrenic spectrum. In P. Crawford, & P. Kadetz (Eds.), Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Health Humanities. (1). Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature).

Acceptance Date Mar 26, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 13, 2023
Publication Date Oct 5, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 30, 2022
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature)
Series Title Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Health Humanities
Edition 1
Book Title Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Health Humanities
ISBN 9783030268251
Keywords Art, creativity schizotypy, schizophrenia, schizophrenic spectrum, art therapy, psychosis
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