Special Education ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to try to determine whether a structured creativity program could improve creative thinking abilities in elementary emotionally disturbed children. The study examined creativity as a process and contended that emotionally disturbed children could profit from learning to think creatively by increasing their repertoire of appropriate responses. The subjects were taken from two special adaptation classes for the emotionally disturbed. The classes were located in two elementary schools in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The eleven students in the experimental group and the eight students in the control group were pre- and posttested with the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. The experimental group was presented with the Purdue Creative Thinking Program. The taped stories and written exercises were completed by the students three times a week for a two-month period. After each session the students were given points, which could later be traded for tangible rewards, if they attempted to complete the exercises. At the end of the sessions, the experimental group made significantly higher total and verbal gain scores than the control group and approached significance on the figural gain scores. There was a significant improvement in total, verbal, and figural gain scores for the experimental group; there was no statistically significant gain for the students in the control group. This study does support the general hypothesis that the creative thinking abilities of elementary emotionally disturbed children can be improved by a structured creative thinking program.

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Roger Lee Kroth

Second Committee Member

Glenn Van Etten

Third Committee Member

Richard Lane McDowell