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BACKGROUND: Many studies have addressed the question of whether mental disorder is associated with creativity, but high-quality epidemiological evidence has been lacking.AimsTo test for an association between studying a creative subject at high school or university and later mental disorder. METHOD: In a case-control study using linked population-based registries in Sweden (N = 4 454 763), we tested for associations between tertiary education in an artistic field and hospital admission with schizophrenia (N = 20 333), bipolar disorder (N = 28 293) or unipolar depression (N = 148 365). RESULTS: Compared with the general population, individuals with an artistic education had increased odds of developing schizophrenia (odds ratio = 1.90, 95% CI = [1.69; 2.12]) bipolar disorder (odds ratio = 1.62 [1.50; 1.75]) and unipolar depression (odds ratio = 1.39 [1.34; 1.44]. The results remained after adjustment for IQ and other potential confounders. CONCLUSIONS: Students of artistic subjects at university are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and unipolar depression in adulthood.Declaration of interestNone.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





370 - 376


Adult, Bipolar Disorder, Case-Control Studies, Creativity, Depressive Disorder, Major, Educational Status, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Registries, Schizophrenia, Siblings, Sweden, Young Adult