ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (7): 799-812.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00799

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


成童1, 程南华1, 王美芳2, 王争艳1()   

  1. 1首都师范大学心理学院, 儿童发展研究中心, 北京市“学习与认知”重点实验室, 北京 100048
    2首都师范大学初等教育学院, 北京 100048
  • 收稿日期:2021-03-24 发布日期:2022-05-16 出版日期:2022-07-25
  • 通讯作者: 王争艳
  • 基金资助:

Toddlers’ anxiety predicts their creativity at the age of five: The chain mediation effects of general cognition and mastery motivation

CHENG Tong1, CHENG Nanhua1, WANG Meifang2, WANG Zhengyan1()   

  1. 1Department of Psychology, Center for Child Development, Learning and Cognitive Key Laboratory, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China
    2College of Elementary Education, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China
  • Received:2021-03-24 Online:2022-05-16 Published:2022-07-25
  • Contact: WANG Zhengyan


儿童早期焦虑是一种常见的心理卫生问题, 影响个体中央执行功能的发展, 而个体中央执行功能所表现的认知能力的发展通常反映出个体创造性问题解决的过程。本研究采用追踪研究设计, 探讨了学步期儿童焦虑对其学龄前期创造力的长时影响及其潜在作用机制。来自北京的96个家庭(男孩42名, 女孩54名)参与了本研究。在儿童1岁和2岁时, 母亲填写中国版《12~36月龄幼儿情绪社会性评估量表》和家庭基本信息调查表。在儿童2岁时, 采用贝利婴幼儿发展量表评估幼儿的一般认知能力; 在儿童3岁时, 母亲报告儿童掌握动机情况; 在儿童5岁时, 采用托兰斯活动与动作创造性思维测验评估儿童的创造力。研究结果表明:(1)儿童学步期焦虑(广泛性焦虑和分离焦虑)可以显著负向预测其5岁时的创造力; (2)一般认知能力和掌握动机在儿童学步期焦虑(广泛性焦虑和分离焦虑)和学前期创造力之间的链式中介作用成立; (3)儿童学步期广泛性焦虑还可以通过直接负向预测掌握动机, 从而对其5岁创造力的表现产生消极影响。

关键词: 广泛性焦虑, 分离焦虑, 一般认知能力, 掌握动机, 创造力


Anxiety is an aversive emotional and motivational state occurring in threatening circumstances, mainly including general anxiety and separation anxiety in early childhood. General anxiety is a kind of trait anxiety relating to general susceptibility to anxiety, while separation anxiety belongs to the state anxiety determined interactively by trait and situational stress. Previous studies have demonstrated the negative effects of anxiety on creativity, but less is known about the mechanisms of these effect, particular the longitudinal effects of anxiety on creativity from toddlerhood to preschool period. Processing Efficiency Theory and Attentional Control Theory explained the effect of anxiety on cognition from the perspective of cognitive processing. Moreover, childhood anxiety may longitudinally affect later development of creativity through neuroendocrine system. That is, anxiety activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) with releasing glucocorticoids, which are associated with the development of higher-order cognitive function. Thus, we assumed that anxiety in early childhood had a longitudinal adverse effect on later development of creativity. Further, the present study explored the mechanisms between early childhood anxiety and creativity in preschool period. The general cognitive ability, a foundamental component of creativity, and motivation may be candidate mediated variables. According to Piaget’s cognitive development theory, a necessary precondition for the development from one cognitive stage to a higher stage is that the individual encounters with discrepancies between the previous schema and the current stimulus, which lead to the motivation to achieve a new cognitive balance. These views suggested that cognition and motivation may be two closely intertwined processes, and general cognitive functions play a decisive role in motivation activation. For younger children, the motivation is reflected in the persistence on objects and people and so on, namely mastery motivation. Accordingly, a longitudinal study was designed to examine the relation between anxiety of toddlers and their creativity when they were 5 years old, and investigate the underlying mechanism by chain mediation effects of general cognitive function and mastery motivation.

96 families (42 boys and 54 girls) were recruited from the local communities and child care clinics in urban areas of Beijing. At 14 and 25 months, infants’ general anxiety and separation anxiety were reported by their mother with the Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (ITSEA-Chinese version). When children were 25 and 38 months, children’s general cognition and master motivation were evaluated using the Bailey Scale of Infant Development and Dimensions of Mastery Motivation Questionnaire in the laboratory respectively. Children’s creativity was assessed by Thinking Creatively in Action and Movement (TCAM) when they were 61 months.

Results showed that: (1) Both general anxiety and separation anxiety in the first two years of life negatively predicted motor creativity at preschool years directly. (2) The chain mediation effects of general cognitive ability at toddler period and mastery motivation at 3-year-old were significantly linking both types of anxiety to creativity. (3) The general anxiety could negatively predict mastery motivation, which in turn led to the decreased performance of creativity.

Overall, our findings indicated the long-term impact of both general and separation anxiety in early childhood on creativity in preschool years. Path analysis confirmed the interwined process of cognition and motivation in the development of creativity. These results suggest that early identification of child anxiety as well as intervention for general cognition and master motivation would be conducive to the development of creativity.

Key words: general anxiety, separation anxiety, general cognition, mastery motivation, creativity