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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The social and emotional development of gifted children : what do we know? / edited by Maureen Neihart, Steven I. Pfeiffer, and Tracy L. Cross. -- Second edition. 1 online resource. Includes index. Description based on print version record and CIP data provided by publisher; resource not viewed. ISBN 978-1-61821-484-3 (Paperback) ISBN 978-1-61821-485-0 (PDF) ISBN 978-1-61821-486-7 (ePub) 1. Gifted children. 2. Child psychology. 3. Child development. I. Neihart, Maureen, editor. II. Pfeiffer, Steven I., editor. III. Cross, Tracy L., editor. BF723.G5 155.45’5--dc23 2015029389 Copyright ©2016, National Association for Gifted Children Edited by Lacy Compton Cover and layout design by Raquel Trevino ISBN-13: 978-1-61821-486-7 No part of this book may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, microfilming, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher. At the time of this book’s publication, all facts and figures cited are the most current available. All telephone numbers, addresses, and websites URLs are accurate and active. All publications, organizations, websites, and other resources exist as described in the book, and all have been verified. The authors and Prufrock Press Inc. make no warranty or guarantee concerning the information and materials given out by organizations or content found at websites, and we are not responsible for any changes that occur after this book’s publication. If you find an error, please contact Prufrock Press Inc. Prufrock Press Inc. P.O. Box 8813 Waco, TX 76714-8813 Phone: (800) 998-2208 Fax: (800) 240-0333 http://www.prufrock.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS FOREWORD Nancy M. Robinson and Sally Reis SECTION I: SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS AND NEEDS OF GIFTED CHILDREN
1 Theories of Social and Emotional Development in Gifted Children Kristofor Wiley
2 Gender Differences in Gifted Children
Joan Freeman and Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal
3 Perfectionism in Gifted Students Kristie Speirs Neumeister
4 Gifted Children and Peer Relationships Jennifer Riedl Cross
5 Identity Development in Gifted Children Dante D. Dixson and Frank C. Worrell
6 The Socioemotional Characteristics of Creatively and Artistically Gifted Children Frank Zenasni, Marion Botella, and Baptiste Barbot
SECTION II: POTENTIAL AREAS OF SOCIAL OR EMOTIONAL RISK
7 Depression and Suicide Among Gifted Children and Adolescents Tracy L. Cross and Lori Andersen
8 Gifted Underachievement
Liang See Tan, Keith Chiu Kian Tan, and Deepa Surendran
9 The Social and Emotional Development of Twice-Exceptional Children Megan Foley-Nicpon
10 Living in the In-Between: High Creatives and Emotional Vulnerabilities Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal
11 Gifted Children and Bullying Jean Sunde Peterson
SECTION III: PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF TALENT DEVELOPMENT
12 The Psychological Science of Talent Development
Rena F. Subotnik, Frank C. Worrell, and Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
13 Psychosocial Factors in Talent Development Maureen Neihart
14 Motivation in Talent Development of High-Ability Students: Research Trends, Practical Implications, and Future Directions Gregory Arief D. Liem and Chun Ser Chua
15 Supportive Environments for Developing Talent Seon-Young Lee
16 Optimal Parenting and Family Environments for Talent Development Paula Olszewski-Kubilius
SECTION IV: PROMISING SUPPORTS AND INTERVENTIONS
17 The Social and Emotional Impact of Acceleration Kristofor Wiley
18 Ability Grouping and the Socioemotional Development of Gifted Students Jonathan A. Plucker and Anna Dilley
19 Counseling the Gifted
Steven I. Pfeiffer and Jordan Burko
20 Career and Life Planning for Gifted Adolescents Meredith J. Greene Burton
21 Promoting Optimal Mindsets Among Gifted Children Del Siegle and Susan Dulong Langley
22 What Have We Learned and What Should We Do Next? Maureen Neihart, Steven I. Pfeiffer, and Tracy L. Cross
ABOUT THE EDITORS ABOUT THE AUTHORS INDEX
PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS It has been nearly 15 years since Sally Reis, then President of NAGC, first convened a task force to review the empirical literature on the social and emotional needs and characteristics of gifted children. The purpose of that task force was to clarify what we did and did not know about the social and emotional development of gifted children and to lay some myths to rest. The book conceived in those efforts went on to became a popular graduate textbook in many gifted education programs around the world, as well as a valued reference for teachers, parents, and academics. Although there are several useful books on the social and emotional lives of gifted children available today, this text remains the only comprehensive summary of the empirical research on the social and emotional development of gifted children by recognized authorities in the field. We undertook this revision because the previous text had become dated enough that its usefulness as a graduate text was waning. Also, new topics have emerged for which there is currently no useful summary. This edition is a significant revision of the first text published in 2002. While we retained the best features of that edition, we also aimed to enhance and strengthen the earlier work with three changes. The first was to add a new section on talent development. It is intended to address the burgeoning interest and research base regarding gifted performance. Our authors have summarized the research on psychosocial variables demonstrated to be correlates of or good predictors of high performance. The second change was to include a focus on diversity issues within every chapter rather than as a separate section. We hope this signals the critical importance issues of culture, context, and identity are to understanding social and emotional development of children. Finally, to enhance the text’s readability and ensure that it achieves its targeted aims, we asked all authors to follow a similar template. This provides a consistency that we believe strengthens the book’s overall coherence. Readers familiar with the first edition will notice that some topics are missing. What happened to them? In a few instances, there simply wasn’t anything new to say. It was a surprise (and a concern) to us that so little research had been conducted since 2000 on some topics (e.g., highly gifted). What was said in the first book continues to serve as a concise summary of what we know. More often, though, the shift from linear to multiple pathways in our understanding of some processes has linked certain topics so tightly to others that it becomes almost impossible to separate them (e.g., affect regulation and asynchronous development). Hence, they are addressed across several chapters or in relation to other variables rather than within their own chapter. We are grateful to the many people whose efforts improved the quality of this book. Our chapter authors demonstrated great patience and diligence working with a timeline that challenged all of us. Their contribution is indicative of their commitment to addressing the social and emotional needs of gifted children. We are especially indebted to our team of reviewers who provided timely and rigorous critiques of the chapters. This book is stronger because of them. Every chapter was independently reviewed by at least two scholars in the field. We wish to acknowledge all of them for their invaluable help: ■ Susan Assouline ■ Karen Gust Brey ■ David Chan ■ Nick Colangelo ■ Mary Ruth Coleman ■ Donna Ford ■ Tom Hébert ■ Claire Hughes ■ Tracy Inman ■ Linda Jarvin ■ Jennifer Jolly ■ Todd Kettler ■ Catherine Little ■ Sal Mendaglio ■ Dona Matthews
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Michael Matthews Youyan Nie Rick Olenchak Michael Piechowski Jane Piirto Sally Reis Mary Cay Ricci Julia Roberts Jennifer Robins Nancy Robinson Sue Schaar Elizabeth Shaunessy-Dedrick Kirsi Tirri Hope Wilson Aimee Yermish
We wish to thank the editors from the first book: Sally Reis, Nancy Robinson, and Sidney Moon for their support and helpful inputs on this second edition as well as Jane “Eagle Eye” Clarenbach, Director of Public Education at the NAGC office, who provided valuable editorial and organizational contributions. Her generosity, patience, and speed made the editing process an absolute delight. We are also grateful to the leadership of NAGC and the NAGC Publications Committee who saw the value and need for a second edition and were actively involved in determining the framework for this book and supported its development from the beginning. Finally, we are indebted to our own families for their encouragement, support, and love, which have shaped our lives and enriched our writing. Maureen Neihart Steven I. Pfeiffer Tracy L. Cross
FOREWORD NANCY M. ROBINSON AND SALLY REIS Fourteen years have passed since we served as two of the four editors of the first book on social and emotional development of gifted children and youth. Some things have changed in the field of giftedness and its research during this period, and some have not. It is worth taking a look at what has and has not changed. The major conclusions of the earlier publication appear to be alive and well: As a group, gifted young people are inherently no more socially or emotionally vulnerable than their age peers, and indeed, many appear even more robust, but they are immune to none of the ills that befall their peers. Some aspects of their own makeup, especially their internal asynchronies, and their inevitable mismatch with environments designed to fit their age peers, are in themselves special challenges that constitute potential areas of social and/or emotional risk if intervention is not forthcoming. Both the earlier volume and this one highlight specific areas of risk that may be experienced in a unique way and suggest some paths of action, often based on findings from small-scale studies rather than research validated on larger populations. In the current volume, a broader invited group of both American and international authors have contributed. Yet, insufficient research is still being conducted here and abroad on social and emotional development. In fact, in some areas, such as gifted girls and highly gifted youth, little new work can be found. The summaries in the first edition essentially still represent what is known on some topics, in part, perhaps because our field is pursuing new research interests.
HOW HAS OUR FIELD CHANGED? One of the most prominent changes over these 14 years has been a change in views of the natures of both giftedness and education. While few professionals have ever regarded giftedness as a stable trait present from birth and impervious to one’s experience, earlier views tended to see giftedness as a generalized quality, a personal resource, likely to persist even if not always observable. Expanding conceptions of giftedness recognize it as both general to some extent but domain-specific in others. The recent work by Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, and Worrell in 2011, focusing on gifted education as talent development, building on the work of those who regard giftedness as developmental, portrays giftedness as (a) domain-specific; (b) observable in a trajectory of developing competence revealed by performance; (c) requiring targeted and skillful teaching and (d) prolonged, deliberate practice by the learner; (e) characterized not only by skills emanating from talent, but a complex of social and emotional skills that are of at least equal importance; and (f) vulnerable to loss if neglected. The shift implies that positive social and emotional attitudes and skills are essential in the process of talent development. Other educational changes have occurred during the intervening years. The age-old simplistic debate as to whether acceleration or enrichment works best has disappeared, in favor of the understanding that most gifted students need a combination of both. The many forms of acceleration are all options in achieving an optimal match for a given learner, but equally important are the many forms of enrichment that were once the exclusive purview of gifted education, most of which are now regarded as 21st-century opportunities for all students. Gifted education pedagogy has had profound impacts. Within-class differentiation continues to be a basic approach needed by all rapidly developing students, whatever their class placement. A number of specialized curricula were developed during this period, most notably by investigators at the University of Connecticut, William & Mary, and the University of Virginia who participated in the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (1990–2011). More recently, in response to the introduction nationwide of the somewhat more rigorous Common Core curriculum, attention has shifted to modifications suitable for gifted students, contrary to the expectation of many general educators that this curriculum will by itself meet their needs. Adding to our understanding and knowledge of the social-emotional lives of gifted persons, are the targeted investigations of this period. For example, demonstration of the effects of highly advanced verbal, quantitative, and
spatial abilities on adult attainment (including the rarity of synchrony in those abilities) by investigators at Vanderbilt University continuing the landmark Study of Mathematical Precocious Youth, has highlighted the need to extend services to the highest scoring students. Another group receiving much more attention in recent years are “twice-exceptional,” or “2e” students. In this volume appear some new topics such as bullying and multicultural issues (here represented mostly by cross-national studies) that reflect more current concerns.
WHAT HAS STAYED THE SAME IN OUR FIELD? Despite the significant changes we have mentioned above, the state of research on social and emotional characteristics of gifted students reveals both stability and inactivity. Research funding continues to be severely limited, with the result that many studies are based on woefully small numbers of members of convenience samples affected by unassessed selective factors. Further, when comparison groups are included, they tend to be typically developing age-peers rather than older students matched in mental/academic maturity. The one dedicated source of research funding, the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, now subsumed under No Child Left Behind legislation, specifically targets underserved populations and curricular effects, but not social-emotional aspects of talent or opportunities for creative productivity. As a result, more readily generalizable research on the wide range of gifted students and more rigorous basic studies have been neglected. The editors very wisely urge investigators to take advantage of large, existing, and presumably less selective data sets gathered by investigators outside our field, mining data relevant to the most gifted participants. Understanding individual differences among this diverse group requires being able to tease subtleties and interactions out of sizable data sets. We heartily second the motion, recognizing, however, that the most highly gifted will still likely be regarded as outliers, or remain unrepresented altogether. Not only research but education has shown less progress than was hoped. Fewer gifted students are being served and fewer gifted programs are available across the country; shifting priorities toward struggling students has diverted attention from talented youth; teachers in general and teachers of the gifted have less professional development than ever before; and more students are now being served only in the regular classroom. Readers of the new volume will, though, certainly gain some new understanding of critical areas such as perfectionism, bullying, underachievement, low motivation, and career planning. The orientation toward talent development suggests that focusing on students’ strengths is essential for attainment. Strength-based approaches enable teachers to regard talent development in a more nuanced way, such as dealing with challenges like perfectionism and twice-exceptional students, as pointed out by fine examples in the two chapters in this volume. In conclusion, we appreciate the opportunity to read and reflect on the second edition of this important area. We find much of interest here. We thank the editors for giving us the opportunity to write this foreword and for the sneak preview of their fine new book!
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS AND NEEDS OF GIFTED CHILDREN INTRODUCTION There are many reasons that the social and emotional development of gifted children differs from that of children with average ability. Research over the past 10–15 years has changed the nature of the discussion on some of these needs. The field has moved away from dichotomous and linear perspectives to understandings that acknowledge the dynamic interplay of forces in development. Today, we believe that both ability and environment must be considered because social and emotional characteristics shape and are shaped by interactions with others. Also, development must be understood within a cultural context because many concepts (e.g., self, identity, achievement) are socially constructed. It is this interaction that makes growing up gifted a qualitatively different experience. For example, in her chapter, Speirs Neumeister highlights how research on perfectionism, a common characteristic of gifted children, has moved from studies based on typologies to studies based on dimensions of positive strivings and evaluative concerns. Similarly, Freeman and Garces-Bacsal report on changing patterns of gender differences in gifted children, and Cross discusses how some characteristics of gifted children can present challenges for social relationships. As you read this section, watch for these and other examples of this shift in our understanding of the social and emotional characteristics and needs of gifted children. How do they confirm or modify your own ideas about gifted children’s development?
THEORIES OF SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN GIFTED CHILDREN KRISTOFOR WILEY
INTRODUCTION When Lewis Terman used the newly developed Stanford-Binet intelligence scale to identify children with “genius” over a century ago, he took the opportunity to measure more than just cognitive ability in those children. Among the many characteristics he explored in Genetic Studies of Genius (Terman, 1926) were several regarding emotional maturity and affect. Terman came to the conclusion that his high-IQ subjects were, in general, socially and emotionally well-adjusted. In the years following Terman’s 1926 publication, Leta Hollingworth (1926, 1942), then an instructor at Columbia University, drew on the work of Terman and others to study a handful of students with Stanford-Binet IQs above 180. Her conclusions, while largely in agreement with Terman, added a discussion of “special perplexities” on the part of the highly intelligent. Her concerns for these students included the social difficulties often provoked by a mismatch between physical and cognitive development (asynchrony), disadvantages in demonstrating leadership among older mental peers, and lack of close friendship among age peers. These two scholars framed a discussion of affective characteristics by highlighting both the strengths and potential complications of high intelligence. Due to differences in their settings and the students with whom they worked, Terman and Hollingworth sometimes emphasized different aspects of the experience of these students, but neither could have anticipated the opposed viewpoints they would be summoned to represent. It is not difficult now to find claims that the gifted are somehow a population apart in their emotional state, either universally protected by their capabilities or uniquely vulnerable for the same reason. Neither, of course, is predictably the case. Rather, the students we identify as gifted are a vast array, as different from one another as they are from their nonidentified peers. The act of predicting social or emotional difference on the basis of gifted identification, whether it be unique vulnerability or boundless resilience, is neither supported by research nor logically consistent. That said, advanced cognitive or academic abilities typically reflected by gifted identification can create unique challenges when it comes to peers and the environment. For some gifted students, school is an exercise in patience as material already learned is once again presented. For others, it represents a world in which constant effort is required to fit in. Asynchrony is a defining element of giftedness, and in some students, it provokes a qualitatively different social experience. Our mandate as professionals is to command the idea of asynchrony, not to predict social or emotional differences in gifted individuals, but to aid our understanding when those differences present themselves.
THEORY FOR UNDERSTANDING The unique cognitive characteristics of the gifted, those by which they are identified, must be part of our discussion. They are not, however, enough to provide understanding. A host of variables (including asynchrony) impact social and emotional well-being. Understanding the relationships between these variables requires a theoretical framework. Theory links individual traits and outcomes in an attempt to escape mere correlation. A clear example of this comes in recent discussions of Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities. Researchers have demonstrated a correlation between overexcitability scores and giftedness, but it is only when we engage Dabrowski’s larger Theory
of Positive Disintegration (e.g., Piechowski, 2014) that we are able to explore whether this relationship is meaningful. The purpose of this chapter is not to catalog research on individual social or emotional traits associated with gifted individuals; such summaries will be found in subsequent chapters. Rather, it is to offer a survey of theoretical frameworks through which those traits can be more effectively understood and addressed. The following section highlights several theories of social or emotional development that have found use in recent years among gifted educators, as well as recent research drawing on those frameworks. It is not a comprehensive list, but it represents a cross-section of popular acceptance, recent development, and depth of application. The greater intent is to demonstrate how placing traits of giftedness in a theoretical context can help us formulate better service.
MAJOR FINDINGS Research in gifted education typically draws upon one or more theoretical frameworks to explore a specific area of interest. Many theories from developmental psychology have been put to use over the years in the study of the social and emotional development of gifted children. The following theories can be applied to the unique development of gifted children, helping to explain outcomes and behaviors once we consider them in the context of giftedness.
ERIKSON AND IDENTITY Erikson (1968) proposed that identity is developed through encountering and resolving eight consecutive crises attached to specific developmental life stages: ■ trust or mistrust, ■ autonomy or doubt, ■ initiative or guilt, ■ industry or inferiority, ■ identity or diffusion, ■ intimacy or self-absorption, ■ generativity or stagnation, and ■ integrity or despair. The degree to which these challenges are successfully resolved helps define the psychological well-being of the individual. The theory is widely accepted and used, but it can have special implications in the context of gifted asynchrony. Cross (2001) addressed potential differences in Erikson’s first five stages (those associated with the first 18 years of life) for gifted populations. His exploration focused on the possible experience of gifted students, who, for example, encounter a need to develop a sense of competence over inferiority in a world that presents little academic challenge. Without confirmation of effort, a sense of competence might never be developed. Cross also suggested that identity formation, already a sticky issue for adolescents, may be doubly confusing for gifted individuals receiving “mixed messages” about their role in society. Cross and Frazier (2010) extended this question of identity, in combination with social learning theorists, to explore the process of identity development among gifted adolescents at a residential camp. Extending the application of Erikson to adulthood, Zuo and Cramond (2001) found a strong association between successful resolution of Erikson’s adolescent identity crisis and successful adult occupation (i.e., prestige, professional honors, etc.). Students with little direction or guidance regarding occupations reliably ended up in less prestigious positions. Thus, while a gifted student might have the potential to be a research physicist or classroom teacher, the lack of an early sense of occupational identity might result in less access to that career trajectory. Cross (2004) also explored the potential interaction of developing technology with Erikson’s theory and gifted individuals, suggesting that the increased skill required for their use enhances the likelihood of competence development. The changing nature of personal interaction, however, remains an open question as adolescents continue to seek associations of identity. On one hand, physical and social anonymity can lead to the prioritization of cognitive ability, but Cross still questioned the impact of anonymous interaction on “issues of self” (p. 63). To be sure, the current state of social media does not promise the prioritization of cognitive ability, although it has generated an entirely new path for bullying those who are different. Putting the gifted, technology, and Erikson
together can provide insight to such situations. This is a convenient sample of studies employing Erikson, but it serves to highlight the importance of his theory. Zuo and Cramond (2001), for example, have taken a tentative difference in occupational outcome, suggested that it might have a theoretical basis in Erikson’s identity crisis, and tested that relationship. This proposed mechanism gives us the power to improve occupational outcomes and facilitate stronger identity formation on the basis of Erikson’s theory. It is important to note that later scholarship questions the specific sequence and timing of Erikson’s trajectory (Marcia, 1980), but the crises remain consistent.
KOHLBERG AND MORALITY Kohlberg (1984) proposed a theory of moral development governing “justice reasoning” and involving six sequential stages at which value decisions are made in response to the following respective factors: ■ authority, ■ individual interest, ■ interpersonal expectation and conformity, ■ social systems and conscience, ■ social contract and individual rights, and ■ universal ethical principles. Progress through the stages is motivated by social interaction, but it is fundamentally a process of cognitive development. Kohlberg suggested that high cognitive ability leads to more rapid moral development, but that everybody has access to all levels within a lifetime. Thus, those working with gifted youth and adolescents might expect to see higher levels of moral judgment in those identified as gifted, but adult populations are less likely to show difference as others “catch up.” These results are supported in recent research by Lee and Olszewski-Kubilius (2006), who demonstrated that gifted adolescents score significantly higher on Kohlberg’s last two stages, known as the Post-Conventional stages, than the students in the norming sample: “gifted students were more likely to rely on unanimous procedures, due process, defending basic human rights, and intuitively appealing ideas in making moral judgments” (p. 55). Ruf (2009) agreed, but reminded us that gifted individuals will differ significantly in their moral development at the same age, and thus blanket generalizations are not supported. Recent interpretations of Kohlberg have implications for gifted populations. Rest, Narvaez, Thoma, and Bebeau (2000) recommend a revision of Kohlberg’s theory on the basis of his disproportionate focus on justice, the limited nature of his diagnostic situations, and the philosophical difficulties of assuming an absolute moral truth. In their “neo-Kohlbergian” framework, the authors preserve the original stages of development, but move in the final stage from the idea of “universal” moral truths to that of “common morality,” a code of moral judgment emerging from community consensus in the context of specific circumstances. The authors incorporated this paradigm adjustment in their Defining Issues Test (DIT; Rest et al., 1999), a widely used instrument for assessing moral development. The implications for gifted individuals of this shift from an abstract and absolute truth to an interpersonal consensus could be profound, and this emerging theoretical understanding is likely to change how we think of giftedness and morality. Traditionally, gifted students have been characterized as highly moral on the basis of tests that measured their ability to conceptualize morality, not on a longitudinal view of their behavior (Freeman, 2008). For an asynchronous adolescent, it may be comforting to know that moral conduct is not entirely in the hands of a distant peer group, but instead relies on abstract principle. However, if the highest levels of morality are to be increasingly associated with group consensus surrounding a situation, then counseling and affective curriculum may need to address this change in perspective.
DABROWSKI AND OVEREXCITABILITIES In 1964, Kazimierz Dabrowski published his Theory of Positive Disintegration (TPD), which outlines a trajectory of personality development in which the individual matures through periods of psychological “disintegration.” The basic model involves an initial state of “unitary integration,” during which choices are made largely in response to individual desire and “primitive impulse.” As a result of internal or external conflict, one or more psychological structures inevitably fall apart, producing anxiety and neurotic behavior in response to the discomfort. Under the right circumstances, an individual undergoing this disintegration can experience “secondary integration,” arriving at a “superior” personality. Dabrowski (1964) suggested that those who are prone to disintegration often exhibit one or more of five
“overexcitabilities” (OEs): intellectual, emotional, sensual, imaginational, or psychomotor. Children exhibiting OEs are highly reactive or focused within the domain of their OE. It is on the basis of these OEs that the TPD has been the subject of a body of recent research with gifted children, as they seem consistent with the heightened sensitivities often observed in this population. Dabrowski himself suggested that talented individuals tend toward symptoms of disintegration, and research has supported this claim as it pertains to OEs. The most popular instrument for measuring OEs is the Overexcitability Questionnaire II (OEQ2). Harrison and Van Haneghan (2011) used the OEQ2 to reveal higher sensual, imaginational, and intellectual OEs among gifted adolescents. By way of contrast, the emotional OE, historically believed to be higher in gifted samples, was the same for both groups. Bouchet and Falk (2001) found higher emotional and intellectual OEs among university students who self-identified as gifted. Carman (2011) used comparison groups of university students to test an alternative instrument to the OEQ2, the Sensory Profile, for its power to distinguish students identified for gifted programming. The author concluded that the Sensory Profile had nearly the same power to distinguish between students identified as gifted and nonidentified students as did a combination of grade point average, high school rank, and general intelligence scores. The relationship between gifted identification and scores on the OEQ2 is well established. It is important to reiterate, however, that while OEs enjoy a substantial relationship with gifted identification, they are not a theory of development by themselves. Piechowski (2014) addressed the complexity and common misconceptions that surround the TPD, and other scholars on the subject advise caution when interpreting OE scores in isolation from the “overall context of development potential” (Kane, 2009, p. 74). In addition, while positive disintegration offers an alternative interpretation of several conditions often diagnosed as negative (i.e., anxiety and neurosis), sometimes the conditions are truly cause for concern. Periods of disintegration can evolve negatively, leading to regression or “involution.” They can also persist in the form of psychoses. Thus, the theory should never be used to explain away serious problems as positive transitions. Dabrowski’s TPD is an engaging model with potential utility, but until we establish a more complete understanding of how it works and what it successfully predicts in students, we should not apply it in pieces to the gifted.
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Culture informs giftedness. Societal values are inevitably reflected in the entire gifted education process: 1. definition of giftedness (e.g., leadership or creativity as traits of the gifted), 2. identification (e.g., timed IQ testing or the weight of teacher recommendation), and 3. programming (e.g., separate schools and concerns for elitist accusations). Although the frameworks described above are not presented as specific to one culture or values set, scholars focusing on minority and international populations often draw on alternative frameworks to supplement their work. Frazier (2012), for example, outlined special considerations based on racial, sexual, and gender identity formation in gifted students. She suggested that research on identity formation among racial minorities should be informed by the work of Fordham and Ogbu, as the group memberships and processes of affiliation that form identity under Erikson’s theory are affected by race and ethnicity. Similarly, Peterson and Rischar (2004) called upon multiple theories of sexual identity development in their discussion of sexual identity in the gifted. Internationally, research depends heavily on the frameworks discussed previously. Kohlberg, for example, provides the foundational theory in a line of research demonstrating advanced moral reasoning among gifted Finnish adolescents (Pehkonen, Inkeroinen-Huhta, & Tirri, 2003; Tirri, 2010; Tirri & Pehkonen, 2002). Alnabhan (2011) also draws on Kohlberg to demonstrate more developed moral reasoning among Kuwaiti 8th and 11th graders with high intelligence scores. By way of contrast, Nguyen, Jin, and Gross (2013) combined Kohlberg with Confucius to assess moral reasoning in Vietnamese students. Using both the DIT and the Confucian Value Scale (CVS), the authors again demonstrated that students identified as gifted show higher levels of moral reasoning on both measures.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY Many of the limitations surrounding research on social or emotional theories are the same limitations that plague
studies of individual traits. Samples are often small and formed from convenience (e.g., a local summer camp or a set of self-selected clinical patients). Furthermore, the existence of multiple conceptions of giftedness limits generalization to the broader population. A study based on a high school for math prodigies, for example, might have little utility for a 2-week residential program. In terms of research design, there is a persistent issue regarding traits or experiences deemed “unique” to gifted populations. We have every reason to believe that the gifted experience existence differently, but often the research we use to validate this belief is not designed for comparison of gifted and nongifted populations. When such a design is implemented, we sometimes find the predicted differences are not as great as we thought (Mueller, 2009). Finally, there is the related question of whether a given social or emotional characteristic is a product of interaction with the environment or intrinsic to the gifted individual. Intelligence research increasingly suggests that these are not exclusive options, but rather that “nurture” plays upon “nature” in a way that makes distinguishing between them very difficult (Nisbett et al., 2012). As a result, addressing the needs of a gifted individual requires attention to both personal awareness and the nature of her environment. Future research in this area needs to address the distinction between using a theoretical framework and evaluating it. By calling on Erikson and other theorists for predictions of difference, then assessing the strength of those differences, we can verify which frameworks offer the most use in terms of explanation. Researchers should also seek to broaden our understanding on the sources of difference by exploring environmental factors such as peers and school context as moderators of group differences. Although it may prove impossible to separate the traits of the student from those of her environment, a clearer picture of their relationship could only help.
IMPLICATIONS The quality of our service to gifted individuals depends directly on the application of a theoretical basis to our observations. When we observe a difference in this population, we must also seek a possible explanation for that difference in the form of a theoretical framework. In doing so, we not only make it possible to test the relationship under other circumstances, but we add more meaningfully to our options for addressing the differences. Conversely, when we ignore this step, we open ourselves up to unfounded assumptions based on happenstance. Cognitive ability is a broad construct, and a single IQ score can represent any number of different abilities. The individuals we call gifted vary widely on these and other criteria. Thus, while high cognitive ability should inform our interpretation of theory regarding our students or clients, we should not imagine that it predicts specific social or emotional traits.
REFERENCES Alnabhan, M. (2011). How does moral judgment change with age and giftedness? Gifted and Talented International, 26, 25–30. Bouchet, N., & Falk, R. F. (2001). The relationship among giftedness, gender, and overexcitability. Gifted Child Quarterly, 45, 260–267. Carman, C. A. (2011). Adding personality to gifted identification: Relationships among traditional and personalitybased constructs. Journal of Advanced Academics, 22, 412–446. Cross, T. L. (2001). Social/emotional needs: Gifted children and Erikson’s theory of psychosocial. Gifted Child Today, 24(1), 54–55. Cross, T. L. (2004). Technology and the unseen world of gifted students. Gifted Child Today, 27(4), 14–15, 63. Cross, T. L., & Frazier, A. D. (2010). Guiding the psychosocial development of gifted students attending specialized residential STEM schools. Roeper Review, 32, 32–41. Dabrowski, K. (1964). Positive disintegration. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. Frazier, A. D. (2012). Identity development and multipotentiality. In T. L. Cross & J. R. Cross (Eds.), Handbook for counselors serving students with gifts & talents (pp. 281–295). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Freeman, J. (2008). Morality and giftedness. In T. Balchin, B. Hymer, & D. Mathews (Eds.), The Routledge international companion to gifted education (pp. 141–148). New York, NY: Routledge. Harrison, G. E., & Van Haneghan, J. P. (2011). The gifted and the shadow of the night: Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities and their correlation to insomnia, death anxiety, and fear of the unknown. Journal for the
Education of the Gifted, 34, 669–697. Hollingworth, L. (1926). Gifted children: Their nature and nurture. New York, NY: Macmillan. Hollingworth, L. (1942). Children above 180 IQ. Yonkers-on-Hudson, NY: World Book Company. Kane, M. (2009). Contemporary voices on Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration. Roeper Review, 31, 72–76. Kohlberg, L. (1984). The psychology of moral development. San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row. Lee, S.-Y., & Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2006). The emotional intelligence, moral judgment, and leadership of academically gifted adolescents. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 30, 29–67. Marcia, J. E. (1980). Identity in adolescence. In J. Adelson (Ed.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (pp. 159– 187). New York, NY: Wiley & Sons. Mueller, C. E. (2009). Protective factors as barriers to depression in gifted and nongifted adolescents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 53, 3–14. Nguyen, T. M. P., Jin, P., & Gross, M. U. M. (2013). Confucian values in Vietnamese gifted adolescents and their non-gifted peers. Gifted and Talented International, 28, 227–238. Nisbett, R. E., Aronson, J., Blair, C., Dickens, W., Flynn, J., Halpern, D. F., & Turkheimer, E. (2012). Intelligence: New findings and theoretical developments. American Psychologist, 67, 130. Pehkonen, L., Inkeroinen-Huhta, S., & Tirri, K. (2003). The moral reasoning of gifted adolescents. In F. Mönks & H. Wagner (Eds.), Development of human potential: Investment into our future: Proceedings of the 8th Conference of the European Council for High Ability (pp. 78–81). Bad Honnef, Germany: Verlag Karl Heinrich Bock. Peterson, J. S., & Rischar, H. (2004). Gifted and gay: A study of the adolescent experience. In S. Baum & S. Reis (Eds.), Twice-exceptional and special populations of gifted students (pp. 81–108). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Piechowski, M. M. (2014). Rethinking Dabrowski’s theory: I. The case against primary integration. Roeper Review, 36, 11–17. Rest, J., Narvaez, D., Bebeau, M., & Thoma, S. (1999). DIT-2: Devising and testing a new instrument of moral judgment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 644–659. Rest, J. R., Narvaez, D., Thoma, S. J., & Bebeau, M. J. (2000). A neo-Kohlbergian approach to morality research. Journal of Moral Education, 29, 381–395. Ruf, D. (2009). Self-actualization and morality of the gifted: Environmental, familial, and personal factors. In D. Ambrose & T. Cross (Eds.), Morality, ethics, and gifted minds (pp. 265–283). New York, NY: Springer. Terman, L. M. (1926). Genetic studies of genius. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Tirri, K. (2010). Combining excellence and ethics: Implications for moral education for the gifted. Roeper Review, 33, 59–64. Tirri, K., & Pehkonen, L. (2002). The moral reasoning and scientific argumentation of gifted adolescents. Journal of Advanced Academics, 13, 120–129. Zuo, L., & Cramond, B. (2001). An examination of Terman’s gifted children from the theory of identity. Gifted Child Quarterly, 45, 251–259.
GENDER DIFFERENCES IN GIFTED CHILDREN JOAN FREEMAN AND RHODA MYRA GARCES-BACSAL Research studies that address questions pertaining to significant differences between gifted boys and girls range from teachers’ stereotypes that influence identification and nominations for advanced programs (Barber & TorneyPurta, 2008) to an examination of external and internal factors contributing to eventual achievement (Reis, 2002). Do differences in achievement among gifted boys and girls still exist? Do gifted girls still fail to realize their potentials in adulthood? Are gifted boys still limited in their career choices because of sex-role stereotypes? This chapter explores the social and emotional factors that are reported to influence gifted girls’ and boys’ achievement and success.
MAJOR FINDINGS GENDER DIFFERENCES IN STEM PATHWAYS Earlier research studies seemed to suggest that innate gender differences in aptitudes for the “hard” sciences is being overturned. Freeman (2004) reported that gifted girls in Britain were surpassing those of gifted boys in almost all areas of study across various ages. This was attributed to two factors: British girls are believed to demonstrate greater confidence in their abilities, and British curriculum and assessment incorporate styles and contents such as extended prose, written portfolios, and research projects that encourage female study patterns. However, more recent studies indicate this view may have been premature. A 5-year United Kingdom study of more than 19,000 participants found that only 15% of 10–14-year-olds sought STEM subjects as a career (ASPIRES, 2013). Science was found to be socially constructed, in that teachers often favored boys, perceiving them to be more naturally able, even when girls’ school marks were higher. More recent investigations in the United States, however, show a different picture, with gifted males consistently outperforming gifted females on STEM subjects and nonverbal assessments by as much as 3 to 1. Conversely, gifted females outperform males on verbal tests by a ratio of 2 to 1 (Heilbronner, 2013; Olszewski-Kubilius & Lee, 2011). The 2007 administration of TIMSS also demonstrates a pronounced gender difference with eighth-grade boys significantly outperforming eighth-grade girls, with the United States exhibiting the largest gender gap (Institute of Educational Sciences, 2009). Stoet and Geary (2013) analyzed 10 years of data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) to determine gender differences in mathematics and reading performance of nearly 1.5 million 15-year-olds in 17 countries across four PISA assessments (those in 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009). Overall, boys are found to score higher than girls in mathematics, but lower than girls in reading. Although there are countries where girls are found to score higher than boys, the researchers also stated that they found no evidence supporting that sex differences were in any way related to the gender equality indicators of particular nations. Although gifted boys are found to sacrifice deeper understanding for correct answers achieved quickly (Boaler, Wiliam, & Brown, 2000), gifted girls are found to react less positively than boys to pace, pressure, and competitiveness, often wanting time to think and discuss their understanding. In Israel, interviews with Advanced Placement Physics students showed that the girls did not like excessive competitiveness, aiming instead for deep understanding and connected knowledge (Zohar & Sela, 2003).
ATTRIBUTIONS OF SUCCESS
Callahan and Hébert’s (2014) critical analysis of the literature showed differences among gifted males and females when it comes to general attributions of success and specific discipline attribution. Generally, gifted boys attribute academic success to ability and failures to a lack of effort (Hébert & Schreiber, 2010). Interestingly, while earlier research studies found that academically talented girls attribute their success to hard work or luck and failures to lack of ability, these findings are contradicted by a more recent study (Assouline, Colangelo, Ihrig, & Forstadt, 2006). Gifted girls are now found to attribute failure to not working hard enough rather than a lack in knowledge or skills. Specific discipline attributions likewise exist with gifted boys regarding themselves as having higher ability in math and sciences whereas gifted girls regard themselves to be of higher ability in language arts and the humanities (Rudasill & Callahan, 2010), regardless of their actual abilities and performance in these areas (Tirri & Nokelainen, 2011). This is likewise evident with a sample of Finnish Mathematics Olympians (Tirri & Nokelainen, 2011) and gifted sixth-grade girls from Germany who demonstrated lower levels of self-concept and interest in mathematics compared to gifted boys (Preckel, Goetz, Pekrun, & Kleine, 2008). Rudasill and Callahan (2010) noted that boys’ lower self-perceptions of their abilities in the humanities may consequently limit their career options. The research findings revealed that self-perceptions correlated with future coursework plans, with females anticipating taking fewer math and science courses despite the fact that both males and females perform equally well on assessments of math ability. This is based on annual cognitive state assessments for grades 2 to 11 across 10 states in the U.S., believed to be representative of all 50 states based on their average scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP; Hyde, Lindberg, Linn, Ellis, & Williams, 2008).
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Research that ignores cultural effects on self-concept and motivation can distort developmental understanding and conclusions drawn for practice. Thus, it becomes imperative to examine empirical findings coming from different cultural backgrounds. There are now research studies that look into culturally different gifted communities, such as how home environments influence gifted children’s creativity across gender in Saudi Arabia (Hein, Tan, Aljughaiman, & Grigorenko, 2014) and a comparison of Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities by gender for American and Korean high school gifted students (Piirto, Montgomery, & May, 2008). Research studies coming from culturally different backgrounds likewise demonstrate different realities when it comes to self-concept and achievement across gender. In Singapore, being academically competent and problemfocused appeared to be more important in defining the self-worth of intellectually gifted girls than boys. Gifted girls in Singapore also tended to be less reliant on social support than male counterparts in coping with school concerns (Huan, Yeo, Ang, & Chong, 2012). This is supported in Kao’s (2011) study of nine mathematically gifted female adolescents from Taiwan with their proclivity for aloneness, indifference to popularity, and greater attachment to family than to friends. This sense of pride in one’s intelligence regardless of gender is likewise seen in a sample of 22 intellectually gifted boys and girls from the Philippines (Garces-Bacsal, 2011) as well as gifted African American collegiate males who made no attempts to minimize their intelligence despite their being in a predominantly White university (Hébert, 2002). Gifted male achievement also needs to be understood from within a cultural context. Kao and Hébert (2006) pointed out that Asian American parents may have differing attitudes toward education and place an overemphasis on academic achievement that may result in intergenerational cultural conflict. In Whiting’s study (2009) on gifted African American males, he noted that additional barriers exist among Black males identified as gifted who find their identities, self-efficacy, and self-esteem in limited domains such as sports, music, and acting.
GROWING INTO ADULTHOOD: WHOSE WORLD IS IT AND WHO RULES IT? Freeman (2010) has taken a detailed look at influences affecting gifted children into middle age, described in her 35-year comparison study of 210 gifted and nongifted children in Britain. Findings reveal that in terms of conventional success in life, such as high examination marks, climbing the corporate ladder, or making money, the primary building blocks were always keenness and hard work, allied with sufficient ability, educational opportunity, and an emotionally supportive home. Some gifted girls were subject to handicaps due to parental assumptions. A more nuanced understanding of gifted females’ involvement in the sciences indicates that while women earned more doctoral degrees than men in fields such as biology, gifted women are still underrepresented in fields such as engineering and computer science (National Science Foundation, 2011). However, at work they earned less
than men. This is evident among the 145 Presidential Scholars from 1964–1968 who were interviewed 40 years later, with a higher percentage of gifted men earning more than the women (Kaufmann & Matthews, 2012). The researchers noted that despite this income difference, a greater overall satisfaction with income was reported by women than by men. In Reis’s (2005) qualitative study, she noted that females seek careers that they believe to be of significance to society and where personally satisfying relationships are instrumental to success. Although high in personal meaning and societal contribution, these are not typically highly compensated positions. This is even more clearly shown in Willard-Holt’s (2008) study of 18 female teachers identified as gifted. Conversations with the respondents revealed that they received more numerous and empathic messages of discouragement about their career choice (“You could be doing brain surgery”) than messages of encouragement. Yet despite this, they remained committed teachers with their perceptions of achieving both intellectual challenge and emotional self-actualization in their careers. Tirri and Koro-Ljungberg’s (2002) investigation of the critical incidents among gifted female Finnish scientists revealed that while some compromises related to their scientific identity in male-dominated science professions were inevitable, this did not prevent them from realizing their talents. Female Academy of Finland professors and Olympians also cited having a supportive spouse as among the most important choices they made in their lives and hiring outside help at home as particularly helpful in allowing them to manage both career and family life. In a qualitative study (Hébert, Pagnani, & Hammond, 2009) of 10 prominent gifted men born between 1946 and 1964, positive paternal influence was an instrumental factor in their talent development. Six important themes also emerged as significant among men who achieved success in various fields such as sports, music, public service, humanities, and the arts: unconditional belief in son, strong work ethic, encouragement and guidance, maintaining high expectations, pride in son’s accomplishments, and mutual admiration and respect. The question then of whose world it is and who rules it seems moot with research indicating gifted girls and gifted boys to be more alike than they are different (Kerr, Vuyk, & Rea, 2012). However, gendered educational practices (as seen in the insistence on athletic activities for boys at the expense of academic activities or overprotection of girls when it comes to participation in afterschool and summer programs) and differing societal expectations exacerbate such dualities. This may contribute to long-term consequences in connection to life choices, career aspirations, and eventual accomplishments (Kerr et al., 2012).
CONSIDERATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCHERS AND PRACTITIONERS The scientific evidence has long shown there is no simple nature-nurture divide between the genders. Striving and reaching for excellence emerges in individuals from their aptitudes affected by family and cultural life. Children’s cognitive styles (as seen in the ability to think systematically and logically or in being driven by emotions) are not a product of genes, but a mixture of experience and cultural pressures filtered by personality and an early start in life. A more systematic look into how culture shapes gender stereotypes (e.g., Latino communities, Asian contextual realities), which then influence career aspirations and choices in life for gifted men and women has yet to be conducted. Callahan and Hébert (2014) posited that clear and consistent lines of research underlying variables contributing to male and female achievement, as well as empirically defensible best practices are needed. The authors also observed a reliance on qualitative studies and called for more quantitative studies that explore gender differences on achievement. Kitano (2008) pointed out that having comparison groups (of gifted males/females, average males/females) and controlling for differences in socioeconomic status between groups, would also be helpful in examining essentially unique characteristics among bright young people. Educators and practitioners should also note that gendered practices are found to exist in gifted education (Kerr et al., 2012). These refer to unconscious practices of teachers that eventually result in differing outcomes for gifted girls and boys. Gifted African American and Latina females (Kitano, 2008) and gifted African American males (Bonner, Lewis, Bowman-Perrott, Hill-Jackson, & James, 2009) continue to be significantly underserved in programs for the gifted. Bonner et al. (2009) noted that researchers and practitioners need to be sensitive to a “unique alchemy” of identity, gender, and culture that may potentially influence gifted students’ success in school. Ford and Moore (2013) recommended that educators adopt a social justice approach to their work. This means having a culturally responsive approach in philosophy and classroom action to close the achievement gap among African American students and gifted Black males in particular. Grantham (2011) called for more upstanders (those who engage in proactive roles to address injustices) to prevent the bystander effect, which allows gifted Black males
to be overlooked for or drop out of gifted programs. A scholar identity model is also proposed by Whiting (2009) to support the process of image building among gifted Black males. Teachers should also help gifted students realize that school achievement is not life achievement and that gifted and talented students should be given opportunities in a broad range of career fields regardless of gender. Although there is a need for teachers to encourage gifted girls in math, science, and technology (Reis & Graham, 2005), the girls also should not be made to feel that careers in the humanities and the arts are not good enough for them. Kao (2011) also pointed out that teachers should respect gifted girls’ proclivity for aloneness by not forcing them to play in groups and being mindful of forming peer groups that have similar interests in values rather than simply forming age-appropriate groups. Kitano (2008) noted that gifted boys report less psychological androgyny than gifted girls in terms of personality, which can adversely affect boys’ future career prospects. Psychological androgyny consistently has been found to be a marked characteristic of creative individuals (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996) and allows gifted males to embrace their sense of being more fully and that this need not diminish their identity as men. Psychological androgyny could also serve to empower gifted females to pursue career pathways that they may perceive to be maledominated, as well as allow them to embrace the challenge of being both homemaker and a career-driven individual. It becomes increasingly important, then, to view gifted boys and girls as gifted individuals or bright young people rather than overly emphasize male-female dualities.
REFERENCES ASPIRES. (2013). Young people’s science & career aspirations, age 10–14. London, England: University of London, Kings College, Department of Education and Professional Studies. Assouline, S. G., Colangelo, N., Ihrig, D., & Forstadt, L. (2006). Attributional choices for academic success and failure by intellectually gifted students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50, 283–294. Barber, C., & Torney-Purta, J. (2008). The relation of high-achieving adolescents’ social perceptions and motivation to teachers’ nominations for advanced programs. Journal of Advanced Academics, 19, 412–433. Boaler, J., Wiliam, D., & Brown, M. (2000). Students’ experiences of ability grouping—Disaffection, polarisation and the construction of failure. British Education Research Journal, 26, 631–648. Bonner, F. A., II, Lewis, C. W., Bowman-Perrott, L., Hill-Jackson, V., & James, M. (2009). Definition, identification, identity, and culture: A unique alchemy impacting the success of gifted African American millennial males in school. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 33, 176–202. Callahan, C. M., & Hébert. T. P. (2014). A critical analysis of research on gender issues in gifted education. In J. A. Plucker & C. M. Callahan (Eds.), Critical issues and practices in gifted education: What the research says (2nd ed., pp. 267–280). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York, NY: HarperCollins. Ford, D. Y., & Moore, J. L., III. (2013). Understanding and reversing underachievement, low achievement, and achievement gaps among high-ability African American males in urban school contexts. The Urban Review, 45, 399–415. Freeman, J. (2004). Cultural influences on gifted gender achievement. High Ability Studies, 15, 7–23. Freeman, J. (2010). Gifted lives: What happens when gifted children grow up. London, England: Routledge/Psychology Press. Garces-Bacsal, R. M. (2011). Socioaffective issues and concerns among gifted Filipino children. Roeper Review, 33, 239–251. Grantham, T. C. (2011). New directions for gifted Black males suffering from bystander effects: A call for upstanders. Roeper Review, 33, 263–272. Hébert, T. P. (2002). Gifted Black males in a predominantly White university: Portraits of high achievement. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 26, 25–64. Hébert, T. P., Pagnani, A. R., & Hammond, D. R. (2009). An examination of paternal influence on high-achieving gifted males. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 33, 241–274. Hébert, T. P., & Schreiber, C. (2010). An examination of selective achievement in gifted males. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 33, 570–605. Heilbronner, N. M. (2013). The STEM pathway for women: What has changed? Gifted Child Quarterly, 57, 39–55. Hein, S., Tan, M., Aljughaiman, A., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2014). Characteristics of the home context for the nurturing of gifted children in Saudi Arabia. High Ability Studies, 25, 23–33.
Huan, V. S., Yeo, L. S., Ang, R. P., & Chong, W. H. (2012). Concerns and coping in Asian adolescents—Gender as a moderator. The Journal of Educational, Research, 105, 151–160. Hyde, J. S., Lindberg, S. M., Linn, M. C., Ellis, A. B., & Williams, C. C. (2008). Gender similarities characterize math performance. Science, 321, 494–495. Institute of Educational Sciences. (2009). Comparative indicators of education in the U.S. and other G-8 countries. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009039.pdf Kao, C.-Y. (2011). The dilemmas of peer relationships confronting mathematically gifted female adolescents: Nine cases in Taiwan. Gifted Child Quarterly, 55, 83–94. Kao, C.-Y. & Hébert, T. P. (2006). Gifted Asian American adolescent males: Portraits of cultural dilemmas. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 30, 88–118. Kaufmann, F. A., & Matthews, D. J. (2012). On becoming themselves: The 1964–1968 presidential scholars 40 years later. Roeper Review, 34, 83–93. Kerr, B. A., Vuyk, A., & Rea, C. (2012). Gendered practices in the education of gifted girls and boys. Psychology in the Schools, 49, 647–655. Kitano, M. K. (2008). Gifted girls. In J. A. Plucker & C. M. Callahan (Eds.), Critical issues and practices in gifted education: What the research says (pp. 225–240). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. National Science Foundation. (2011). Science and engineering doctorate awards: 2007–2008. Retrieved from http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf11321/pdf/nsf11321.pdf Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Lee, S. (2011). Gender and other group differences in performance on off-level tests: Changes in the 21st century. Gifted Child Quarterly, 55, 54–73. Piirto, J., Montgomery, D., & May, J. (2008). A comparison of Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities by gender for American and Korean high school gifted students. High Ability Studies, 19, 141–153. Preckel, F., Goetz, T., Pekrun, R., & Kleine, M. (2008). Gender differences in gifted and average-ability students: Comparing girls’ and boys’ achievement, self-concept, interest, and motivation in mathematics. Gifted Child Quarterly, 52, 146–159. Reis, S. M. (2002). Gifted females in elementary and secondary school. In M. Neihart, S. M. Reis, N. M. Robinson, & S. M. Moon (Eds.), The social and emotional development of gifted children: What do we know? (pp. 125– 135). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Reis, S. M. (2005). Feminist perspectives on talent development: A research based conception of giftedness in women. In R. J. Sternberg & J. E. Davidson (Eds.), Conceptions of giftedness (2nd ed., pp. 217–245). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Reis, S. M., & Graham, C. (2005). Needed: Teachers to encourage girls in math, science, and technology. Gifted Child Today, 28, 14–21. Rudasill, K. M., & Callahan, C. M. (2010). Academic self-perceptions of ability and course planning among academically advanced students. Journal of Advanced Academics, 21, 300–329. Stoet, G., & Geary, D. C. (2013). Sex differences in mathematics and reading achievement are inversely related: Within- and across-nation assessment of 10 Years of PISA data. PLoS ONE, 8(3): e57988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057988 Tirri, K., & Koro-Ljungberg, M. (2002). Critical incidents in the lives of gifted female Finnish scientists. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 13, 151–163. Tirri, K., & Nokelainen, P. (2011). The influence of self-perception of abilities and attribution style on academic career choices: Implications for gifted education. Roeper Review, 33, 26–32. Whiting, G. (2009). Gifted Black males: Understanding and decreasing barriers to achievement and identity. Roeper Review, 31, 224–233. Willard-Holt, C. (2008). “You could be doing brain surgery”: Gifted girls becoming teachers. Gifted Child Quarterly, 52, 313–332. Zohar, A., & Sela, D. (2003). Her physics, his physics: Gender issues in Israeli advanced placement physics classes. International Journal of Science Education, 25, 245–268.
PERFECTIONISM IN GIFTED STUDENTS KRISTIE SPEIRS NEUMEISTER
INTRODUCTION A second grader refuses to play baseball after the second day of practice because he struck out twice at bat. “Baseball is dumb,” he tells his parents. A seventh-grade student earns a 51% on his algebra test because he failed to finish the second half of the exam. His explanation? “I was so focused on doing the first problems over and over again to make sure I didn’t have any mistakes that I ran out of time.” A high school junior is taking six Advanced Placement courses. Although she only gets 4–5 hours of sleep at night and reports feeling stressed all of the time, she will not consider changing her course load because, “if you are smart, everyone expects you to take all the challenging classes and perform well.” Frustrating scenarios such as these are all too familiar for parents, teachers, and counselors of gifted students who struggle with perfectionism and the subsequent handicapping thoughts and behaviors. Consequently, much has been written on the topic over the past two decades, both within and beyond the field of gifted education. This chapter provides a summary of the central findings and limitations of this research and offers a road map for promising avenues for future research on perfectionism.
MAJOR FINDINGS Although commonly considered a trait of gifted students, research findings are not definitive as to whether or not perfectionism is more common in the gifted population. Some studies report a greater incidence among the gifted (Guignard, Jacquet, & Lubart, 2012; LoCicero & Ashby, 2000; Schuler, 2000; Shaunessy, Suldo, & Friedrich, 2011) whereas others do not (Parker & Mills, 1996; Parker, Portesova, & Stumpf, 2001). Inconsistencies in the measurement of perfectionism, the definition of gifted, and the age of the participants across studies may account for the discrepant findings. In addition to studying the incidence of perfectionism among the gifted, a second line of research, buoyed by the publication of three multidimensional perfectionism scales (Frost, Marten, Lahart, & Rosenblate, 1990; Hewitt & Flett, 1991; Slaney, Mobley, Trippi, Ashby, & Johnson, 1996), has focused almost entirely on identifying different types of perfectionism and examining the relationship of these types to adaptive and maladaptive outcomes. One of the most prolific researchers on this topic, Parker (1997, 2002), used cluster analyses to determine different types of perfectionism. His research identified three groups: Non-Perfectionists, Healthy Perfectionists, and Dysfunctional Perfectionists. The Non-Perfectionists did not hold high standards for themselves and were not particularly conscientious or concerned about their mistakes. Healthy Perfectionists did hold high standards for themselves but also were not overly concerned with their mistakes. They were conscientious, highly organized, and agreeable. Finally, Dysfunctional Perfectionists held high standards for themselves and were concerned with mistakes. They felt their parents held high expectations for them, and they were sensitive to criticism. Other research on gifted middle school students employing different measures of perfectionism supports this typology framework (LoCicero & Ashby, 2000; Schuler, 2000; Vandiver & Worrell, 2002). Researchers have also examined the incidence of perfectionism within gifted college students. Speirs Neumeister (2004a) examined different types of perfectionism in gifted college students. Using the Hewitt and Flett (1991) MPS scale, she studied gifted college students who were either self-oriented perfectionists (setting high standards for oneself) or socially prescribed perfectionists (believing that others have high demands and expectations for one’s performance). The findings of her mixed methods program of research (Speirs Neumeister, 2004a, 2004b, 2004c;
Speirs Neumeister & Finch, 2006) suggested that gifted college students scoring high on socially prescribed perfectionism tend to overgeneralize their failures, adopt a performance approach (desire to seem competent in the eyes of others) or performance avoidance (desire to avoid seeming incompetent in the eyes of others) or achievement goal motivation (Elliot, 1999), and perceive their parents as critical and having high expectations for their performance. In contrast, while the self-oriented perfectionists did express anger and frustration with failure, they were also more likely to adopt a performance approach or a mastery (goal of gaining competence, regardless of performance) achievement goal orientation than a performance avoidance orientation. These students also perceived their parents as authoritative and as less demanding and critical than the socially prescribed perfectionists perceived their parents. Although this program of research used a different typological scheme than the other studies reviewed previously, the findings corroborate the notion that different types of perfectionism may be related to more adaptive or maladaptive outcomes. The inconsistency in the literature with regard to how perfectionism has been defined, measured, and categorized has led to difficulty in interpreting research findings. In an attempt to better articulate how certain elements of perfectionism may contribute to maladaptive and adaptive outcomes, researchers outside the field of gifted education (Campbell & Di Paula, 2002; Gaudreau, 2012; Stoeber & Otto, 2006) have shifted to identifying core factors of perfectionism that consistently emerge across different measures of perfectionism: the factors of Positive Strivings (also referred to in the literature as Perfectionistic Strivings, Positive Achievement Strivings, and Personal Standards) and Evaluative Concerns (also referred to as Conditional Acceptance, Maladaptive Evaluation Concerns, and Perfectionistic Concerns). When researchers deconstruct perfectionism into these two factors, findings regarding the healthy/unhealthy debate are clear: Positive Strivings correlates with adaptive outcome measures such as positive affect, conscientiousness, and an internal locus of control; high levels of Evaluative Concerns correlates with maladaptive outcome measures such as negative affect, neuroticism, distress, eating disorders, and anxiety (Boone, Braet, Vandereycken, & Claes, 2013; Stoeber & Otto, 2006). The three students profiled in the introduction demonstrate how high levels of Evaluative Concerns can manifest in handicapping attitudes and behaviors that have a detrimental effect on both psychological well-being and performance. Whether it is refusing to participate in an activity because it is challenging, obsessively rechecking work for fear of a mistake, or being unwilling to drop classes despite the physical toll from stress and lack of sleep, these students suffer as a result of their perfectionism. To better our understanding of how to help students such as these, it may be time for researchers within the field of gifted education to move beyond studies of perfectionism typologies and instead to design studies that specifically focus on examining the dimension of Evaluative Concerns.
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Although a couple of studies have been completed examining the incidence of perfectionism in gifted European students compared with nonidentified European students (Guignard et al., 2012; Parker et al., 2001), the majority of cross-cultural studies on perfectionism center on gifted Chinese students. Similar to the research conducted on American students, Chan’s (e.g., 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012) research on gifted Chinese students has focused on classifying students as healthy or unhealthy perfectionists. With his samples of Chinese gifted students, Chan found substantially greater numbers of healthy compared with unhealthy perfectionists, and he also found that those classified as healthy perfectionists were more likely to set learning goals and reported being the happiest and most satisfied with their lives. Chan highlighted the importance of considering culture when interpreting the results of research on perfectionism. He noted that in Hong Kong “setting high standards and striving for excellence and perfectionism are often encouraged and considered desirable for gifted and highly able students in their academic pursuit” (Chan, 2010, p. 94). Thus, cultural differences may account for the high percentage of Chinese students identifying as healthy perfectionists and the relationship to positive psychological outcomes.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY The interpretation of prior research on perfectionism has been plagued by inconsistency with regard to measurement of perfectionism, operationalization of giftedness, age of participants, and participants’ educational context. Standardizing and/or controlling for these factors in future research will help clarify our interpretation of research findings. As noted earlier, researchers beyond gifted education have begun to attend to the problem of
measurement inconsistency by moving to a study of the core facets of perfectionism (Positive Strivings and Evaluative Concerns); researchers within gifted education would benefit from adopting the same approach. Additionally, the importance of operationalizing giftedness within the study of perfectionism is paramount. Many published studies on perfectionism within gifted education may be more appropriately named as studies of perfectionism within high achieving gifted students as the students are frequently taking honors classes at the middle and high school level or enrolled in an Honors College. Use of these samples is problematic because participation in these services requires one to be high achieving as well as high ability. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of perfectionism within the gifted population, researchers need to study not just those who are enrolled in honors courses and other programs for gifted students but also those who are gifted and not participating in these services, despite their availability. Inclusion of this group of “underachieving” gifted students may paint an entirely different picture of the incidence of perfectionism with the population and its correlates to adaptive and maladaptive outcomes. Additional research is needed examining how the difficulty level of the curriculum may influence the development of perfectionism in gifted students. Existing research suggests that perfectionism may develop in part due to a lack of challenge in early educational experiences (Schuler, 2002; Speirs Neumeister, 2004a; Speirs Neumeister, Williams, & Cross, 2009). Future longitudinal studies are needed, however, that directly compare trends over time in the levels of both core facets of perfectionism (Positive Strivings and Evaluative Concerns) within and across matched samples of gifted students experiencing appropriately challenging curriculum with those who are not. Additionally, to determine whether or not social comparison also plays a role in the development of perfectionism, similar studies would be beneficial that held the rigor of the curriculum constant but varied the service option to include students in self-contained gifted classrooms, magnet schools for the gifted, cluster classrooms, and heterogeneous classrooms. Finally, studies are needed that introduce challenge to students who already have developed perfectionistic tendencies in order to understand their reaction to increased challenge over a set period of time and how their responses may differ according to their degree of Positive Strivings and/or Evaluative Concerns. Finally, perhaps the greatest need is for future studies to examine the effectiveness of potential interventions in preventing and/or reversing high levels of Evaluative Concerns. Parker (1997) challenged the field to study how gifted, perfectionistic students respond to interventions. He wrote “While there have been many studies on educational interventions for the gifted; little has been studied in the area of differential interventions for perfectionistic and non-perfectionistic gifted children and hence, little is known” (p. 317). Now, two decades later, this statement is still true; critical is the need for interventions to be designed and studied.
IMPLICATIONS Implications from two decades of research on perfectionism suggest that first and foremost, parents and teachers need to understand the distinction between the two factors that comprise perfectionism. Students with high levels of Positive Striving, coupled with low levels of Evaluative Concerns, are likely to experience adaptive outcomes with behaviors rooted in conscientiousness and mastery goal orientation. As such, with support, these high-achieving students will likely thrive even without interventions related to perfectionism. In contrast, students with both high levels of Positive Striving and Evaluative Concerns, as well as students with only high levels of Evaluative Concerns, may benefit from interventions. Their fear of failure may result in high levels of anxiety, depression, and negative feelings of self-worth (Hewitt & Flett, 1991). Consequently, these students may experience psychological distress, despite high levels of achievement. Collectively, these recommendations suggest a need for parents, teachers, and counselors to dig deeper to understand the roots of a students’ seemingly perfectionistic behaviors to determine appropriate guidance, support, and interventions. Researchers have offered theoretical and practical suggestions for those working with students struggling with fear of failure and concern over evaluation. Nugent (2000) proposed creating a classroom atmosphere that promotes mistakes as informative with an emphasis on the process of learning and growth achieved rather than on a final product. In such a classroom, the teacher shares mistakes and models coping strategies. Students learn how to selfevaluate and reflect on their own perfectionism through participation in small-group discussions, guided reading, or art activities. According to Nugent, this classroom environment facilitates the cognitive restructuring necessary for students to understand that mistakes are necessary for growth. Research findings that a lack of challenge may contribute to the development of perfectionism call for an increase in challenging curriculum that includes support for curriculum compacting, acceleration, enrichment, and teaching at a more conceptual level. Providing gifted students with rigorous curriculum beginning in kindergarten
will foster the development of healthy attitudes toward challenge, mistakes, and working hard to achieve success. Finally, researchers have encouraged parents and teachers to think about their potentially contributing role in the development of perfectionism. Suggestions include the following: to effectively communicate appropriate expectations for gifted children, to be careful of their own modeling of perfectionism, to praise effort and determination rather than ability, and to demonstrate unconditional love and acceptance for children (Greenspon, 2000; Schuler, 2002; Siegle & Schuler, 2000; Speirs Neumeister, 2004a).
CONCLUSION Understanding of perfectionism in gifted students has grown considerably. Deconstructing perfectionism into its core facets of Positive Strivings and Evaluative Concerns will allow researchers to better study how different educational contexts may influence the development of perfectionistic tendencies within gifted students. Implementing such intervention will enable parents, teachers, and counselors to more effectively guide gifted students toward adaptive thoughts and behaviors that facilitate, rather than inhibit, their talent development.
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Parker, W. D., Portesova, S., & Stumpf, H. (2001). Perfectionism in the mathematically gifted and typical Czech students. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 25, 138–152. Schuler, P. A. (2000). Perfectionism and gifted adolescents. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 11, 183–196. Schuler, P. A. (2002). Perfectionism in gifted children and adolescents. In M. Neihart, S. M. Reis, N. M. Robinson, & S. M. Moon (Eds.), The social and emotional development of gifted children. What do we know? (pp. 71–79). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Shaunessy, E., Suldo, S., & Friedrich, A. (2011). Mean levels and correlates of perfectionism in International Baccalaureate and general education students. High Ability Studies, 22, 61–77. Siegle, D., & Schuler, P. A. (2000). Perfectionism differences in middle school students. Roeper Review, 23, 39–45. Slaney, R.B., Mobley, M., Trippi, J.., Ashby, J., & Johnson, D. G. (1996). The Almost-Perfect Scale–Revised. Unpublished manuscript. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Speirs Neumeister, K. L. (2004a). Factors influencing the development of perfectionism in gifted college students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 48, 259–274. Speirs Neumeister, K. L. (2004b). Understanding the relationship between perfectionism and achievement motivation in gifted college students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 48, 219–231. Speirs Neumeister, K. L. (2004c). Attributions for successes and failures in gifted college students: The influence of perfectionism on perspective. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 27, 217–225. Speirs Neumeister, K. L., & Finch, W. H. (2006). Perfectionism in high ability students: Relational precursors and implications for achievement. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50, 238–251. Speirs Neumeister, K. L., Williams, K. K., & Cross, T. L. (2009). Gifted high school students’ perspectives on the development of perfectionism. Roeper Review, 31, 198–206. Stoeber, J., & Otto, K. (2006). Positive conceptions of perfectionism: Approaches, evidence, challenges. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10, 295–319. Vandiver, B., & Worrell, F. (2002). The reliability and validity of scores on the Almost-Perfect Scale–Revised with academically talented middle school students. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 13, 108–119.
GIFTED CHILDREN AND PEER RELATIONSHIPS JENNIFER RIEDL CROSS
INTRODUCTION All people need close personal relationships to thrive. Some people develop these relationships easily and others find it difficult. In this way, gifted children are no different from their peers. In popular media, gifted children and adolescents are often portrayed as socially awkward, unable to find friends among the “regular” kids. Some gifted children fit this stereotype, but many find ways to cope with their differences, building high-quality relationships with peers. Adults who better understand the challenges gifted children face can facilitate their efforts to make friends. Humans are biologically predisposed to interact with cognitively similar others (Almack, 1922; Guo, 2006). Age-grading in schools forces most gifted children into social settings where they have few, or no, intellectual peers. Unless adults intervene to create opportunities for gifted children to be together, their friendship possibilities will require them to cope with their differences (Coleman & Cross, 1988). Self-contained classrooms or out-of-school enrichment programs allow gifted students to spend time with intellectual peers, maximizing opportunities for appropriate academic challenge and relationship building. Regardless of the appropriateness of their educational setting, some students will struggle to make friends. Their asynchronous development (Silverman, 2012), in which cognitive development outpaces social, emotional, and/or physical development, necessarily means they will be out of step with classmates. This is likely even in an all-gifted setting. Some gifted students are emotionally immature, while others are more mature than peers. Some will evidence great asynchrony between their physical and mental development, with size and motor skills similar to those of their agemates, but with intellectual abilities far beyond. A degree of asynchrony will be present in all students, but it will be extreme for gifted children. This is especially true for the highly gifted, who will exhibit much greater disparities. Although many gifted high school students in Cross, Coleman, and Stewart’s (1995) study claimed their peers saw them as being the same as other students (6% of nearly 1,500 adolescents), far more believed their peers saw them as different (26%). The “different” group reported being more serious about learning than other students, with a preference for working independently. Citing a number of sources indicating that gifted students prefer to work alone, French, Walker, and Shore (2011) found the gifted students in their sample preferred working alone more often in conditions where they did not feel supported by others. A lack of support—even animosity—from peers is common (Bishop et al., 2004), particularly among older gifted students. Although gifted students are often popular in elementary classes, adolescence comes with rejection by peers for many. Feeling different and not finding similar, supportive peers can lead to a lonely existence. According to Coleman’s (1985) stigma of giftedness paradigm, giftedness is perceived by others as a negative attribute. Wanting normal interactions, gifted students fear they will be treated differently when others learn of their exceptional abilities, so they consciously manage the information others have about them (Coleman & Cross, 1988; Cross, Coleman, & Terhaar-Yonkers, 1991; Swiatek, 2012). Some social coping strategies may be helpful (e.g., participating in many extracurricular activities), but others (e.g., denying one’s giftedness) may be unhelpful and even harmful (Swiatek, 2012), leading to psychological distress and missed educational opportunities. Exclusive classrooms, asynchronous development, feelings of differentness, unsupportive peers, and stigmatization—experiences such as these can hinder the development of healthy friendships. In the right settings, however, and with effective social skills, none of these factors will necessarily be a barrier to positive peer relationships.
MAJOR FINDINGS At an early age, giftedness can be an advantage in peer relationships (Cohen, Duncan, & Cohen, 1994), although gifted girls were least liked in one study (Luftig & Nichols, 1990). Adler, Kless, and Adler (1992) found that academic achievement was a positive in peer relationships among young elementary students, but, by the fifth grade, high achievement had become a “potentially degrading stigma” (p. 176), especially among boys, and athleticism had become more desirable. Athleticism was also highly favored among the adolescents in Tannenbaum’s (1962) landmark study. When asked to rate their preference for different student profiles, adolescents most preferred brilliant peers who were also athletic and nonstudious. Brilliant students who were studious and nonathletic were liked least. Sixth-grade students in Kiefer and Ryan’s (2011) study chose sincerity and responsibility as characteristics leading to social success, but when asked again in the seventh grade, they chose dominance and athleticism. Dominance or, at least, assertiveness, appears to be an important correlate of popularity among highability students (Francis, Skelton, & Read, 2010; Gorman, Kim, & Schimmelbusch, 2002). The gifted student with little interest in physical activity may face particular challenges in developing friendships. Although the lack of interest may be due to a genuine dislike of physical activity, there may be other reasons, such as a fear of failure in an arena with which the student has had little previous success or anxiety about the social interactions in team sports. Enticing the student to engage in low-cost risk-taking and introducing individual sports may lead to opportunities for developing common interests with nongifted peers. Of course, there is also the danger of athletics detracting from academic achievement. When a gifted student excels athletically, the temptation may be great to spend time in this more socially rewarding activity than in the solitary activity of studying. Friendships are built upon egalitarian interactions and mutual liking is based on reciprocity and shared interests. Gifted students who are popular have likely learned social skills such as reciprocation and negotiation. The adolescent gifted students in Peairs’s (2010) study were often more popular than nongifted peers, but a subgroup with poor social skills experienced rejection. The adults in a gifted child’s life may overlook his or her lack of selfregulation or poor social skills, when these are critical aspects to developing positive peer relationships. Direct teaching through role-play and analysis of interactions may help gifted students overcome social deficits (Crick & Dodge, 1994; Webb, Gore, Amend, & DeVries, 2007). One of the most consistent findings in personality research is a tendency for individuals to be oriented toward extraversion—a preference for greater stimulation, including more interaction with others—or introversion—a preference for less stimulation, including less interaction with others (Wilt & Revelle, 2009). Those oriented more toward extraversion are more sociable and happier than their more introverted peers. Sak (2004) found higher percentages of gifted students classified as introverts (49%) than nongifted students (35%) in a synthesis of 19 studies, but not all studies have found this relationship (Cross, Speirs Neumeister, & Cassady, 2007). Recent measures of extraversion correlate negatively with intelligence (Wolf & Ackerman, 2005). Possibly, as a desire to be close to others is greater, time spent in intellectual tasks and, consequently, performance on tests of intelligence decreases. For gifted students who prefer more intellectual than social stimulation, the development of social skills may be similarly stunted. Research evidence does not suggest gifted children are more likely to be socially inept. More than 1,500 gifted adolescents reported high levels of social competence and satisfaction with their peer relationships (Lee, OlszewskiKubilius, & Thomson, 2012). Type of giftedness appears to matter in peer relationships, as verbal abilities, but not mathematical, are associated with social difficulties (Lee et al., 2012; Peairs, 2010). Verbal abilities are difficult to mask in peer-to-peer communications, whereas mathematical abilities need never be exposed. By virtue of their exceptional abilities, we can assume that many gifted students will perform better academically than their peers. According to Festinger’s (1954) social comparison theory, when a gifted student’s peers become aware that they have been outperformed, the peers will feel negatively about themselves. Socially aware gifted students will recognize this and may take evasive action to avoid hurting peers’ feelings—lying about academic performance (Cross, et al., 1991) or rejecting exclusive academic opportunities, for example. The egalitarian interactions on which friendships depend are threatened by outperformance (Exline & Lobel, 1999). Teachers can unintentionally exacerbate this problem when they try to reward gifted students and inspire others in the class by drawing attention to outstanding products or performances. Mikami, Griggs, Reuland, and Gregory (2012) found that students in classes with teachers who explicitly refer to the academic status hierarchy had fewer friends at the end of the year than students in classes with teachers who did not. Students do not always want their peers to know how well they have done. Eighth-grade students in Juvonen and Murdock’s (1995) study described a successful grade to peers as “lucky,” while telling adults about how hard they
had worked for it. College students strongly preferred private, anonymous recognition of superior performance (Exline, Single, Lobel, & Geyer, 2004). These preferences, however, depend on students’ competitive goals. Some students want to outperform their peers, but such other-referenced competitive goals are associated with poor friendship quality and loss of friendships over time, particularly for girls (Schapiro, Schneider, Shore, Margison, & Udvari, 2009). When gifted students frequently perform better than peers, they may feel threatened in situations where they feel their peers are constantly making upward comparisons against them. The threat may take many forms—physical, social, emotional—depending on the situation and the persons involved. A sensitivity about being the target of threatening upward comparisons (STTUC) will be most distressing to gifted students in competitive situations that draw attention to their outperformance, particularly when they care about their relationship with the outperformed other (Exline & Lobel, 1999; see also Chapter 11 on bullying). Gifted students may perceive their success as humiliating to their outperformed peers (Grobman, 2009). Segregated, exclusive classes can be detrimental to peer relationships (Hertzog, 2003). Gifted programs that are a desirable, but limited, resource can strain or destroy relationships with those unable to gain access. Gifted students in Hertzog’s (2003) study “felt a sense of injustice that they had access to better educational opportunities than other students” (p. 141). Although the structure of gifted services can come between gifted children and their nongifted peers, it can also provide opportunities to develop friendships among intellectually similar peers. The serious, introverted gifted student may revel in the self-contained class. Even the highly gifted student who faces extreme social difficulties with less intellectual peers (Gross, 1989; Hollingworth, 1942) can find acceptance in programs designed for gifted students. Peers were equally accepting of highly and moderately gifted students in a summer residential gifted program (Norman, Ramsay, Roberts, & Martray, 2000). Schools that support a competitive environment (e.g., posting class rank, grading on a curve) promote antilearning cultures (Bishop et al., 2004). Bullying of studious peers was found in many of the 134 schools of Bishop et al.’s study, but there was less harassment in schools where teachers were motivating and challenging for all students. Bullying is commonplace nationwide and gifted students are not immune or more vulnerable (Peters & Bain, 2011; Peterson & Ray, 2006). Schools with a strong emphasis on success for all students foster positive interactions at the individual level (Bishop et al., 2004).
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Cultural influence on gifted students’ peer relationships is evident in studies of “acting White,” the phenomenon of African American students rejecting the dominant group’s norm of academic success (Fordham & Ogbu, 1986). Ford and colleagues (Ford, Grantham, & Whiting, 2008; Ford & Harris, 1996) found that a majority of gifted and high-achieving African American students in their studies had been teased for their academic success. A majority of Ford et al.’s (2008) sample reported putting forth little effort on academics. This underachievement, primarily among African American males, was accompanied by positive White and negative Black stereotypical beliefs. Despite their proven abilities, even the gifted African American students equated “acting Black” with low intelligence and poor academic achievement and many felt pressure to conform to a norm of lower achievement. See also Chapter 5. Tyson, Darity, and Castellino (2005) challenged the acting White phenomenon, reporting high achievement orientations in their study of African American students. Hamm (2000), however, found African American students chose significantly fewer friends with similar academic orientations than did Asian or White students. Highachieving African American adolescents had smaller friendship networks than equivalent achieving White peers (Fryer & Torelli, 2010). This influence is not the result of greater victimization among African American students (Wildhagen, 2011), and may be a culturally based example of STTUC. In their analysis of high school students participating in advanced mathematics and English courses, Barber and Wasson (2015) found less racial diversity in the social networks of participants than nonparticipants. Without strong motivation to participate in advanced coursework, racial or ethnic minority students may reject these options in favor of more socially attractive settings. Sociometric studies of gifted students in the Netherlands indicate greater social understanding among children in high-ability classrooms than regular classrooms (Boor-Klip, Cillessen, & van Hell, 2014). Accelerated secondary students in the Netherlands had a higher likelihood than nonaccelerated students of being rejected, but most were considered average (Hoogeveen, van Hell, & Verhoeven, 2009). Among Israeli children and adolescents, Schechtman and Silektor (2012) found no difference between gifted and nongifted students on a number of social adjustment indicators. Gifted students were not more likely to be lonely or have fewer friends or feel less socially competent. They were less confident than their peers, however, in their physical self-concepts and high school students were less willing to self-disclose, supporting Coleman and Cross’s (1988) information management model
in response to the stigma of giftedness. Asked to rate challenges to twice-exceptional gifted students—those with a coexisting disability—education professionals and parents considered social difficulties with peers to be the primary area of difficulty (Foley-Nicpon, Assouline, & Colangelo, 2013). See also Chapter 9. Gifted children and adolescents the world over face social challenges. The effects of stigmatization are evident in African American students underachieving to avoid the appearance of countercultural behavior and in Israeli high schoolers, who are less willing to share personal information with others. Despite these challenges, many gifted students around the world have confidence in their social abilities and friendships.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY Social comparison research among gifted students has been largely limited to its effect on self-concept. Research should be expanded to include the effects of social comparison on other outcomes and in various settings. Longitudinal research of the course of peer relationships and the effects of various factors (i.e., settings, transitions) among gifted students is sorely needed. To accurately study peer relationships, samples should include not only gifted students, but also all peers with whom they interact, or would interact, if not segregated. Research has not examined the broader effects of segregated programs for gifted students (Cross, 2013). Little is known about the role of empathy and morality in gifted students’ peer relationships. Studies are needed of the effectiveness of interventions for older and younger gifted students with inadequate social skills.
IMPLICATIONS Gifted students are in a unique situation, with the ability to academically or creatively outperform most of their agemates. An emphasis on competitiveness at the individual level can interfere with peer relationships and lead to rejection of these capable students. If competitions are unavoidable, having low stakes and distant competitors (i.e., at other schools) can reduce distress among gifted students. Adults should be aware of their behaviors that create undesirable social environments, such as directing unwanted attention to a child’s exceptional abilities. It is critical that gifted children have opportunities to be with intellectual peers, but cognitive similarities are not enough to ensure mutual liking. Effective social skills are necessary and may need to be directly taught, even to the brightest and most accomplished gifted child. Gifted children and those who care for and work with them can take comfort in knowing that with maturity comes a broader network of acquaintances and more frequent opportunities to find others with similar interests.
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IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT IN GIFTED CHILDREN DANTE D. DIXSON AND FRANK C. WORRELL
INTRODUCTION Erikson’s (1968) theory of psychosocial development and subsequent elaborations on identity formation (e.g., Marcia, 1987) contended that adolescents grapple with questions such as, “Who am I,” “What do I want to become,” and “Where did I come from?” (p. 51). Erikson asserted that answers to these questions, after exploration and selfreflection, provide a strong foundation for individuals to achieve healthy independent identities in adulthood. Although identity development is most closely associated with adolescence, identity development for gifted youth may be accelerated because they may be engaged in some activities (e.g., attending college) ahead of their sameaged peers (Brody, Muratori, & Stanley, 2004; Silverman, 1997). Identity research generally falls into two major strands, the personal or ego identity strand and the social identity strand (Worrell, 2015), and research on identity development in gifted populations tends to fall into one of these categories, often with the goal of identifying aspects of identity development that are unique to gifted populations. In the last 15 years, there have been very few empirical studies conducted with gifted youth on identity processes. This chapter summarizes several studies of adolescents and young adults, including (a) two studies focused on identity formation in relationship to occupational identity (Zuo & Cramond, 2001; Zuo & Tao, 2001), both using Marcia’s (1987) ego-identity status model; (b) two studies on cultural identities (Worrell, 2000, 2007); and (c) a study of Australian youth (Jung, McCormick, & Gross, 2012) using Gross’s (1989) forced choice dilemma. Although there are a few other empirical studies (e.g., Dole, 2012; Graham & Anderson, 2008; Speirs Neumeister, 2002; Thomas, 2008) on types of identity in the literature, there were not included here due to a lack of clarity about the identity constructs that they were assessing and the identity processes involved.
MAJOR FINDINGS IDENTITY FORMATION Zuo and Cramond (2001) conducted a study to better understand the relationship between identity formation and occupational success in a subset of Terman’s (1925) longitudinal interview data of 1,528 young adults (IQ = 135 and above). The sample consisted of the most successful 150 participants (Group A) and the least successful 150 participants (Group C), classified by Terman using success-related criteria (e.g., professional output, influence, honors awarded, income). Zuo and Cramond used Marcia’s (1987) ego status model—moratorium (high exploration, low commitment), foreclosure (low exploration, high commitment), achieved (high exploration, high commitment), and diffuse (low exploration, low commitment)—to analyze the interview data from 1936 and 1940. In 1936, Group A was more than 1.5 times more likely than Group C to be in the identity achieved status (62.8% vs. 39.5%, respectively) and Group C was 4.5 times more likely than Group A to be in the identity diffused status (4.4% vs. 19.8%, respectively). Four years later, Zuo and Cramond (2001) found that the gap had grown even wider: Group A was now more than 2.5 times more likely to be in the identity achieved status (65.7% vs. 26.1%, respectively) and Group C was more than 10 times more likely to be in the identity diffused status (50.7% vs. 4.9% respectively). Zuo and Tao (2001) also used Terman’s (1925) data set to examine the relationship of personality characteristics
and identity status. However, these researchers attempted to classify all of the participants into four occupationalidentity statuses using four questions intended to mimic conceptually Marcia’s (1987) identity status interview: (a) “Have you definitely chosen your life work?”, (b) “Was your occupation chosen or drifted into?”, (c) “What are your ultimate goals in life?”, and (d) “What are the factors that influenced your choice of occupation?” In the first year (i.e., 1936), Zuo and Tao were able to classify 67% of the sample of 1,205 in one the four identity status groups: 52.2% (n = 422) as identity achieved, 21.7% (n = 175) in moratorium, 10.3% (n = 83) in foreclosure, and 15.8% (n = 128) as diffused. Four years later, 81% of the 1,256 participants were classified, with 44.2% (n = 348) as identity achieved, 18% (n = 142) in moratorium, 10.7% (n = 84) in foreclosure, and 27.2% (n =214) in diffusion. In 1936, individuals in the different statuses were compared on parent and teacher ratings on perseverance, desire to excel, and conscientiousness. Using the 1940 data, individuals in different statuses were compared on self-ratings on five personality traits—self-confidence, inferiority, conformity to authority, persistence, and purposiveness—and parents’ ratings of them on these same five traits. Based on the 1940 data, Zuo and Tao (2001) found that individuals classified as achieved had the highest scores on self-confidence, persistence, and purposiveness and the diffused group had the lowest scores based on both self and parent ratings. Positions were reversed on inferiority, with achieved individuals having the lowest scores and diffused individuals having the highest scores. With regard to conformity, individuals classified as foreclosed had the highest scores on both self and parent ratings. However, based on self-ratings, diffuse individuals had the lowest conformity scores, whereas based on parent ratings, individuals in moratorium had the lowest conformity scores. The differences between groups with the highest and lowest mean scores for each personality trait were statistically significant and had medium to large effect sizes. The ratings by teachers and parents of students with different statuses on the 1936 variables—that is, perseverance, desire to excel, and conscientiousness—were less consistent. Parents rated foreclosed individuals highest on desire to excel and conscientiousness and diffused individuals lowest, but they rated achieved individuals highest on perseverance and individuals in moratorium lowest. Teachers rated diffused individuals lowest on all three variables, but they rated achieved individuals highest on desire to excel and conscientiousness and foreclosed individuals highest on perseverance. Taken together, these two studies indicate Marcia’s statuses generally apply to gifted individuals and support, in part, the idea that the achieved status is adaptive. However, it is also worth noting scores for foreclosed individuals did not differ meaningfully from achieved individuals, although the foreclosed status is considered less adaptive.
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES CULTURAL IDENTITIES AND GIFTEDNESS Despite the multitude of theoretical models on racial and ethnic identity, and several instruments operationalizing those models, there are only two empirical articles in the past 15 years that assess a common cultural identity construct in gifted racial/ethnic groups. In 2000, Worrell validated the original Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM; Phinney, 1992) in a sample of academically talented youth attending a summer program. The MEIM consists of 20 items: 14 items assess ethnic identity (how much individuals have explored their ethnic identity, engaged in behaviors associated with their ethnic group, and committed to their ethnic group); six items assess other group orientation (how individuals feel about and are willing to engage with ethnic groups other than their own). The sample consisted of 309 middle and high school students (60% female) from diverse backgrounds: 53% Asian American, 21% European American, 7.6% African American, 7.6% Latino, 4.2% mixed, and 6.2% other. Worrell’s findings replicated Phinney’s two-factor structure, validating the scale’s scores for use in gifted populations. Several years later, Worrell (2007) used the MEIM (Phinney, 1992) to examine the relationship of ethnic identity and other group orientation to academic achievement and self-esteem in another sample of academically talented middle and high school youth (N = 319, 57.7% female) attending a summer program. Participants consisted of 28 African Americans, 28 Latinos, 92 European Americans, and 171 Asian Americans. Participants in the four ethnic groups did not differ in age, self-esteem, expected grade in the summer program, or other group orientation. However, in keeping with the extant literature, the Asian American and European American students had higher school GPAs than the African American and Latino students with medium effect sizes, and the three ethnic minority groups had higher ethnic identity attitudes than the European Americans with large effect sizes. The ethnic minority groups’ higher ethnic identity scores is in keeping with the hypothesis that ethnic identity is more salient for the
minority group members than majority group members (Phinney, 1996). Worrell (2007) also examined if ethnic identity and other group orientation predicted self-esteem, school GPA, and expected GPA in the summer program. He found that ethnic identity predicted self-esteem for Latinos, and that other group orientation predicted self-esteem for African Americans, both with medium effect sizes. In the regressions predicting school GPA, which also included perceived school rank as a predictor, ethnic identity was a negative predictor and other group orientation was a positive predictor of academic achievement for African Americans only, both with medium effect sizes; however, only perceived school rank predicted school GPA for the other three groups. In the regressions predicting expected summer GPA, only perceived summer program ranking was a significant predictor for all four groups. Worrell (2007) concluded that (a) ethnic identity relationships may differ across ethnic groups, so they need to be studied independently; (b) African Americans perceive more negative school environments than their peers, including Hispanics; and (c) selective environments such as summer programs are not necessarily more stigmatizing than regular school environments. These two studies (Worrell, 2000, 2007) highlight the importance of culture in relationship to identity in gifted students, and underscore the notion that each racial/ethnic group may experience ethnic identity differently, even if they are in the same context.
INTERNATIONAL For several years, scholars have posited that underrepresented minority students may opt not to participate in gifted and talented programs, as strong academic performance can result in lower peer acceptance, a phenomenon dubbed the forced choice dilemma by Jung et al. (2012). For example, Ford, Grantham, and Whiting (2008) found that gifted African Americans associated the term, “acting Black” with anti-intellectual behavior and stereotypes, whereas they associated the term, “acting White” with an academic orientation. Jung et al. examined the forced choice dilemma hypothesis in a sample of gifted youth in Australia. Jung et al. (2012) asserted the forced choice dilemma could be described as the belief of many intellectually gifted students that they must choose between their motivation for academic success or their need for peer acceptance (Gross, 1989, 1993). In an Australian sample of 450 gifted adolescents (Mage = 13.96, SD = 1.59), they used a structural equation model to assess the contributions of motivation for academic success and the need for peer acceptance on the forced choice dilemma, and also assessed if motivation for academic success and need for peer acceptance mediated the relationship between several constructs (e.g., valuing equality, inequality, independence, and interdependence) and the forced choice dilemma. They found that both motivation for academic success and the need for peer acceptance predicted experiencing the forced choice dilemma, with the need for peer acceptance being a stronger predictor. Additionally, both motivation for academic success and the need for peer acceptance mediated the contributions of valuing inequality and interdependence on the forced choice dilemma; valuing inequality and independence was also mediated, but only by motivation for academic success. Despite the many claims about this dilemma in the literature on U.S. adolescents, this study is the first one to examine it directly and the fact that it was found in a sample in Australia, a much more homogeneous context, suggests that it will be important to examine this phenomenon across different cultural contexts.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY There are several limitations of the current research literature on identity and giftedness, all of which have implications for future research in this area. First, there is a paucity of empirical research on how identity constructs affect performance in gifted and talented students, although there are numerous position papers making claims about the relationship. Second, most of the limited number of studies that we reviewed have small sample sizes. Third, there is a need for longitudinal studies on identity development in gifted populations. Identity is a dynamic process that changes over time, and in order to understand the factors that are associated with identity changes, longitudinal studies need to be conducted. Fourth, there is also a need for more research on cultural identities with gifted students who are members of racial/ethnic minority groups. There are several papers that highlight the importance of studying racial and ethnic identity in gifted populations (e.g., Whiting, 2009); however, there are still very few empirical studies on the role of these cultural identity variables in gifted samples. Moreover, the dearth of empirical literature is longstanding (Worrell, 2014). In sum, we currently know very little about the aspects of identity development, if any, that are unique to gifted populations.
IMPLICATIONS Despite the paucity of research, there are several conclusions that can be drawn from the current studies. The first of these is that Marcia’s (1987) statuses are as viable in gifted individuals as they are in individuals not classified as gifted (Zuo & Cramond, 2001; Zuo & Tao, 2001). Thus, many of the findings that have been made using this framework may apply to gifted students, although it will be important to find out if there are areas in which gifted adolescents are more likely to be classified as achieved than the general population. Second, Phinney’s (1992) ethnic identity measure, the MEIM, can be used with this sample (Worrell, 2000) and ethnic identity may have different relationships with academic achievement for different racial/ethnic groups and in different contexts (Worrell, 2007). These findings will be important to explicate in future studies. Third, the forced choice dilemma has been shown to be a phenomenon that can affect gifted students and there is a profound need for research on this construct, especially in groups that are underrepresented in gifted and talented education. Overall, the limited empirical research base has increased our understanding of identity issues in gifted students, but a lot more work needs to be done. It will be important for research studies to see if and how personal and social identities contribute to outstanding performance in gifted students and to assess if these identity constructs have a negative impact on the performance of some gifted students. There is much about the role of identity in the function of gifted and talented students that is still unknown and in need of empirical studies to be fully explicated.
REFERENCES Brody, L. E., Muratori, M. C., & Stanley, J. C. (2004). Early entrance to college: Academic, social and emotional considerations. In N. Colangelo, S. Assouline, & M. Gross (Eds.), A nation deceived: How schools hold back America’s brightest students (pp. 97–108). Iowa City: University of Iowa, The Belin Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Dole, S. (2012). Reconciling contradictions: Identity formation in individuals with giftedness and learning disabilities. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 25, 103–137. Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity, youth and crisis. New York, NY: WW Norton & Co. Ford, D. Y., Grantham, T. C., & Whiting, G. W. (2008). Another look at the achievement gap: Learning from the experiences of gifted Black students. Urban Education, 43, 216–238. Graham, A., & Anderson, K. A. (2008). “I have to be three steps ahead”: Academically gifted African American male students in an urban high school on the tension between an ethnic and academic identity. The Urban Review, 40, 472–499. Gross, M. U. M. (1989). The pursuit of excellence or the search for intimacy? The forced choice dilemma of gifted youth. Roeper Review, 11, 189–194. Gross, M. U. M. (1993). Nurturing the talents of exceptionally gifted individuals. In K. Heller, F. J. Mönks, & A. H. Passow (Eds.), International handbook of research and development of giftedness and talent (pp. 473–490). Oxford, England: Pergamon. Jung, J. Y., McCormick, J., & Gross, M. U. M. (2012). The forced choice dilemma: A model incorporating idiocentric/allocentric cultural orientation. Gifted Child Quarterly, 56, 15–24. Marcia, J. E. (1987). The identity status approach to the study of ego identity development. In T. Honess & K. Yardley (Eds.), Self and identity: Perspectives across the lifespan (pp. 161–171). New York, NY: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Phinney, J. S. (1992). The Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure: A new scale for use with diverse groups. Journal of Adolescent Research, 7, 156–176. Phinney, J. S. (1996). When we talk about American ethnic groups, what do we mean? American Psychologist, 51, 918–927. Silverman, L. K. (1997). The construct of asynchronous development. Peabody Journal of Education, 72, 36–58. Speirs Neumeister, K. L. (2002). Shaping an identity: Factors influencing the achievement of newly married, gifted young women. Gifted Child Quarterly, 46, 291–305. Terman, L. M. (1925). Genetic studies of genius, Vol.1. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Thomas, J. A. (2008). Reviving Perry: An analysis of epistemological change by gender and ethnicity among gifted high school students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 52, 87–98. Whiting, G. (2009). Gifted Black males: Understanding and decreasing barriers to achievement and identity. Roeper Review, 31, 224–233.
Worrell, F. C. (2000). A validity study of scores on the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure based on a sample of academically talented adolescents. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60, 439–447. Worrell, F. C. (2007). Ethnic identity, academic achievement, and global self-concept in four groups of academically talented adolescents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51, 23–38. Worrell, F. C. (2014). Ethnically diverse students. In J. A. Plucker & C. M. Callahan (Eds.), Critical issues and practices in gifted education: What the research says (2nd ed., pp. 237–254). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Worrell, F. C. (2015). Culture as race/ethnicity. In K. C. McLean & M. Syed (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of identity development (pp. 249–268). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Zuo, L., & Cramond, B. (2001). An examination of Terman’s gifted children from the theory of identity. Gifted Child Quarterly, 45, 251–259. Zuo, L., & Tao, L. (2001). Importance of personality in gifted children’s identity formation. Journal of Advanced Academics, 12, 212–223.
THE SOCIOEMOTIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CREATIVELY AND ARTISTICALLY GIFTED CHILDREN FRANCK ZENASNI, MARION BOTELLA, AND BAPTISTE BARBOT
INTRODUCTION Creativity may be distinguished from intelligence as it refers to the production of a novel, original, and adapted idea (Sternberg & Lubart, 1995). As Kaufmann (2004) emphasized, intelligence refers to the application of a familiar solution (e.g., routine problem solving, usage of previous experiences and/or knowledge) to either a familiar or novel task/situation. In contrast, creativity refers to the use of a novel solution, requiring individuals to go beyond logic, using imagination and specific creative processes, independent of the novelty of the situation/task. Thus, it is expected that creative cognition is distinct from an academic or a normative one. With this perspective, we consider that emotional characteristics may have a specific and significant impact on creative and artistically gifted children. To demonstrate this point, we present a review of the literature on the impact of emotional states, emotion-related personality traits, and the self on creativity and art.
HOW EMOTIONS ARE RELATED TO CREATIVITY AND THE ARTISTIC PROCESS To date, many studies, mainly from Western countries, have shown that emotions have significant effects on creativity. From this literature, it seems that a positive mood or emotional state has a positive impact on creative production. However, this effect depends on parameters, such as the type of task (Zenasni & Lubart, 2011) or the type of process involved in the creativity task (Kaufmann & Vosburg, 1997), as well as moderating effects of personality variables, such as emotion-related personality traits (Zenasni & Lubart, 2008) or flexibility (Lin, Tsai, Lin, & Chen, 2014). Regardless, it is evident that emotions have a substantial role in the generation of ideas and creativity. As noted above, positive emotional and mood states seem to support creativity. Specifically, meta-analyses of studies from Europe and the U.S. showed that individuals who are more frequently in a positive mood are better in generating ideas, but not necessarily more original (Baas, De Dreu, & Nijstad, 2008). Several psychological processes may explain these relationships. First, positive mood supports fluency because it improves flexibility. Ashby, Isen, and Turken (1999) argued that a positive mood is associated with the release of dopamine, which facilitates flexible deployment of attention and multiple cognitive perspectives. Second, positive emotions enhance creativity by facilitating access to positive material in memory (Isen, Daubman, & Nowicki, 1987): A positive emotional state activates positive memories, which are more accessible than neutral and negative information. Third, a positive emotional state suggests to individuals that they are in a satisfying situation. Therefore, individuals in a positive mood will be more productive and fluent in creation, as each idea generated will more likely be considered satisfactory (Kaufmann & Vosburg, 1997). Although creativity is highly supported by positive emotions, research has shown that a negative emotional state may also boost creativity (Zenasni & Lubart, 2008). However, the impact of negative emotions seems to be far more context-specific (e.g., type of task, type of creative production) than the effect of positive emotions. Abele (1992) showed that the impact of negative emotion varies based on the interest of the task: “sad” participants produced
more ideas only when the creative task was considered interesting. This “mood-repair” effect enhances creativity because an individual in a negative emotional state is motivated to find ways to return to a neutral emotional state and exercising creativity may be one way of doing so. Similarly, Kaufmann and Vosburg (1997) suggested that a negative mood state implicitly indicates that there is a problematic situation. Russ (2014) also outlined the importance of mood regulation for children’s creativity. Through play, children learn to express and control affect and, in turn, find pleasure and enjoyment. She observed that children who demonstrate greater affect in play perform better on creative tasks that favor access to art rich in affective process. Creativity and art must be distinguished, because individuals can engage in an artistic process without being creative, and creativity refers to distinct domains, such as visual arts, but also nonartistic domains, such as science. Consistently, evidence supports the specificity of creativity across domains (e.g., Barbot & Tinio, 2015). This is highlighted by the Amusement Park Theoretical model of creativity (Baer & Kaufman, 2005), proposing that although there are some cognitive, conative, and affective resources applicable across creativity domains, their manifestations are highly domain-specific. In line with this, domain-specific models of artistic processes have been developed (e.g., Mace & Ward, 2002). Because emotions are associated with creativity in general, they should be highly linked to the artistic process, but likely in a way that does not necessarily apply to other creative outlets. Botella, Zenasni, and Lubart (2011) outlined a dynamic model of the artistic creative process of art school students. They observed that each stage of the creative process involves specific affective states: positive affects dominate the insight phase and the last phase of the process, whereas negative affects dominate the first stages of preparation, incubation, and ideation.
EMOTION-RELATED PERSONALITY, CREATIVITY, AND ART Feist (1998) identified the main personality traits related to scientific and artistic creativity. He concluded that a creative person tends to be more open to new experiences, more self-confident and dominant, and less conventional and conscientious than other people. Traits such as risk-taking, perseverance, dominance, self-confidence, impulsivity, openness to new experiences, and tolerance for ambiguity are associated with high creativity. Differences in personality traits are also observed between creative artists and creative scientists (Feist, 1998): artists tend to be more affective, unstable as far as emotions are concerned, as well as antisocial, whereas scientists tend to be more conscientious. Overall, little research has examined the impact of the more emotion-related personality traits on creativity and art. However, in the past 20 years, personality research has identified a set of individual characteristics involved in processing emotional information. In line with the mood-repair hypothesis, some researchers have shown that emotion-related personality traits associated with mood regulation have a positive influence on creativity. George and Zhou (2002) showed that the clarity of affect is positively correlated with creative performance. Some studies have also revealed that those with a higher ability to process emotions have higher creative performances (Guastello, Guastello, & Hanson, 2004) or present personality traits related to creativity (Sanchez-Ruiz, Hernández-Torrano, Pérez-González, Batey, & Petrides, 2011). In contrast, some studies showed that a low score on cognitive measures of emotional intelligence is related to higher creative performance (Zenasni & Lubart, 2009). This negative relationship was explained by the antagonism between a social normative judgment of emotion evaluated by an emotional intelligence test and creative thinking, which involves the tendency to find original and non-normative ideas. This is in line with the Emotional Resonance Model (Lubart & Getz, 1997). According to this model, cognitively remote concepts (representing objects, people, or situations) can be activated simultaneously in memory and become associated because they have similar emotional profiles experientially attached to them. The individualized, rich nature of these profiles, endocepts, increases the probability of statistically rare links between concepts. In this model, affective intensity, which is defined as a tendency to feel and experience emotional reactions that are strong or extreme in a given emotional situation, serves to boost creativity (Larsen & Diener, 1987). Botella, Zenasni, and Lubart (2011) observed that art students present high levels of affective intensity, reporting more intensely negative emotional experiences than the general population. This could partly be explained by the concept of emotional overexcitability (Dabrowski & Piechowski, 1977), which is usually identified as one characteristic of gifted children that seems to be associated with art production in children and adults. Emotional overexcitability is defined as the tendency to experience intense emotions and emotional responses to events and experiences. Individuals with high emotional overexcitability also show a strong ability to recall affective memories. Piechowski and Cunningham (1985) compared the five areas of overexcitability (psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional) in a group of artists in distinct domains, a group of gifted adults, and a group of graduate students from various disciplines. The results showed significantly higher emotional overexcitability in artists compared to the two other
groups. The same pattern of results was observed in samples of Venezuelan artists (Falk, Manzanero, & Miller, 1997) and Turkish gifted children (Yakmaci-Guze & Akarsu, 2006). See also Chapter 10.
CREATIVE SELF-CONCEPTS AND CREATIVE IDENTITY Self-concept and, in particular, creative self-concept, may be an important aspect of the creative potential that facilitates or inhibits the achievement of one’s potential (Karwowski & Barbot, in press). Regarding general selfconcepts, there is sparse literature on creativity and the self, initiated by pioneer humanistic psychologists from the 1950s, that has qualified creativity as a natural fulfillment of the self and a mechanism to achieve one’s potential. General features of creativity that may contribute to this natural fulfillment include traits such as self-acceptance and self-esteem (Coopersmith, 1967). Reciprocally, some research has focused on general aspects of the self that may contribute to creativity, such as self-esteem, self-confidence, or global self-worth. Although supported by theoretical grounds and illustrative eminent cases such as Beethoven (Feist, 1998), this line of work has usually reported low to moderate associations between creativity and the aspects of the self, as well as limited replicability (Hoff, 2005). Controversial results in this line of work may be due to (1) developmental pathways (different patterns associations between creativity and aspects of the self may arise at different developmental stages) and (2) multidimensionality of both creativity and the self (Barbot & Lubart, 2012; Karwowski & Barbot, in press). Indeed, there is a consensus on the multidimensional (multidomain) and hierarchical nature of self-concepts, commonly outlined in modern theories of the self (Marsh & Hattie, 1996). This view suggests that a person has as many self-concepts as domains in which a person is led to develop a representation of herself, including the creative and artistic domains. Similarly, there is a blooming literature on creative self-concept or “creative self-beliefs” (e.g., Karwowski & Barbot, in press), which refer to convictions about one’s own creative potential, creative achievement, and creative identity, as well as one’s perception of what creativity is. These distinct but related facets of the creative self-concept include creative self-efficacy (extent to which a person self-assesses her likelihood of current and future success in creative endeavors; e.g., Beghetto, Kaufman, & Baxter, 2011), self-rated creativity (beliefs about the extent of one’s creative potential as an ability and set of characteristics associated with creativity; Hughes, Furnham, & Batey, 2013), and creative metacognition (Kaufman & Beghetto, 2013). Jaussi, Randel, and Dionne (2007) indicated that these creative self-concepts interact with creative problem-solving abilities to facilitate creative action. For example, they could strengthen interest and commitment, leading to activity, effort, and in turn, to creative achievement. Creative self-concept and other self-related dimensions of creativity are encompassed by one’s “creative identity,” which refers to the importance attributed by the individual to creativity in the global self (i.e., creative personal identity) and to the fulfillment of a “social role” as someone who is creative (i.e., creative role identity; Jaussi et al., 2007). One’s creative identity builds upon past experiences in creative outlets and opportunities to express one’s creativity. Individuals for whom creativity is an important part of the definition of themselves (salient creative identity) seek opportunities to be creative in order to maintain and affirm this fundamental aspect of themselves. Accordingly, Freeman (1993) suggested that creative identity drives the ability to carry out creative work in artistic domains. This is also illustrated through eminent and historical examples often characterized by high levels of self-confidence for creative work (Feist, 2014). This self-confidence regarding the quality of creative outputs may help individuals carry on their creative endeavors even when social supports lag behind. In turn, creative identity is associated with increased productivity and, consequently, higher odds for successful creative achievements (Helson & Pals, 2000). As summarized above, research focusing on creative identity and creative self-concept has outlined the role of these aspects of the self, primarily, as a source of information and motivation (task-oriented intrinsic motivation) that potentially drives an individual’s commitment and perseverance in a given creative outlet. As such, it has been defined as an important organizing principle of the creative potential that organizes and integrates the experiences of creativity (e.g., Jaussi et al., 2007), an underlying mechanism to the achievement of one’s creative potential (Karwowski & Barbot, in press).
FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTIONS To date, there is a scarcity of research combing the study of giftedness, emotion, and art or creativity. However, such studies are crucial to better understand giftedness and intervene accurately among gifted children who often show intense emotional features. As a prerequisite, it would be relevant to disentangle the emotional factors that
contribute to academic giftedness as opposed to creative and/or artistic giftedness. Additionally, there is little research considering development in relation to creative and artistic development in children. Most studies in this line have been done with adults and adolescents, and more research has to be done with children (e.g., similar to Russ’s  studies on creativity and playfulness). Finally, it is worth noting that there are too few studies on intercultural difference in emotion and the creativity/art relationship, even though, similar to creativity, emotion has different representations, expressions, and functions according to culture (Tsai, 2007). In sum, multicultural research that takes into account both emotion and creativity/art development in gifted children is needed. Such studies could focus on whether creativity and/or art may be helpful to channel gifted children’s overexcitability and help them to develop their self and talent in a balanced way. Findings from such studies may prove highly relevant for implementation in gifted education.
REFERENCES Abele, B. A. (1992). Positive and negative mood influences on creativity: Evidence for asymmetrical effects. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 23(3), 203–221. Ashby, F. G., Isen, A. M., & Turken, A. U. (1999). A neuropsychological theory of positive affect and its influence on cognition. Psychological Review, 106, 529–550. Baas, M., De Dreu, C. K. W., & Nijstad, B. A. (2008). A meta-analysis of 25 years of research on mood and creativity: Hedonic tone, activation, or regulatory focus? Psychological Bulletin, 134, 779–806. Baer, J., & Kaufman, J. C. (2005). Bridging generality and specificity: The Amusement Park Theoretical (APT) Model of creativity. Roeper Review, 27, 158–163. Barbot, B., & Lubart, T. I. (2012). Adolescence, créativité et transformation de soi. Enfance, 2012(3), 299–312. [Adolescence, Creativity, and Self-Transformation]. Barbot, B., & Tinio, P. P. L. (2015, January 13). Where is the “g” in “creativity”? A specialization-differentiation hypothesis. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Beghetto, R. A., Kaufman, J. C., & Baxter, J. (2011). Answering the unexpected questions: Student self-beliefs and teacher ratings of creativity in elementary math and science. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 5, 342–349. Botella, M., Zenasni, F., & Lubart, T. (2011). A dynamic and ecological approach to the artistic creative process in arts students: An empirical contribution. Empirical Studies of the Art, 29, 17–38. Coopersmith, S. A. (1967). The antecedents of self-esteem. San Francisco, CA: W. H. Freeman. Dabrowski, K., & Piechowski, M. M. (1977). Theory of levels of emotional development. Oceanside, NY: Dabor Science. Falk, R. F., Manzanero, J. B., & Miller, N. B. (1997). Developmental potential in Venezuelan and American artists: A cross-cultural validity study. Creativity Research Journal, 10(2&3), 201–206. Feist, G. J. (1998). A meta-analysis of personality in scientific and artistic creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2, 290–309. Feist, G. J. (2014). Psychometric studies of scientific talent and eminence. In D. K. Simonton (Ed.), The Wiley handbook of genius (pp. 62–86). Chichester, England: Wiley. Freeman, M. (1993). Finding file muse: A socio-psychological inquiry into the conditions of artistic creativity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. George, J. M., & Zhou, J. (2002). Understanding when bad moods foster creativity and good ones don’t: The role of context and clarity and feeling. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 687–697. Guastello, S. J., Guastello, D. D., & Hanson, C. A. (2004). Creativity, mood disorders and emotional intelligence. Journal of Creative Behavior, 38, 260–281. Helson, R., & Pals, J. L. (2000). Creative potential, creative achievement, and personal growth. Journal of Personality, 68, 1–27. Hoff, E. V. (2005). Imaginary companions, creativity, and self-image in middle childhood. Creativity Research Journal, 17, 167–180. Hughes, D. J., Furnham, A., & Batey, M. (2013). The structure of personality predictors of self-rated creativity. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 9, 76–84. Isen, A. M., Daubman, K. A., & Nowicki, G. P. (1987). Positive affect facilitates creative problem solving. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 1122–1131. Jaussi, K. S., Randel, A. E., & Dionne, S. D. (2007). I am, I think I can, and I do: The role of personal identity, selfefficacy, and cross-application of experiences in creativity at work. Creativity Research Journal, 19, 247–258.
Kaufman, J. C., & Beghetto, R. A. (2013). In praise of Clark Kent: Creative metacognition and the importance of teaching kids when (not) to be creative. Roeper Review, 35, 155–165. Kaufmann, G. (2004). Two kinds of creativity—But which ones? Creativity and Innovation Management, 13, 154– 165. Kaufmann, G., & Vosburg, S. K. (1997). “Paradoxical” mood effects on creative problem-solving. Cognition and Emotion, 11, 151–170. Karwowski, M., & Barbot, B. (in press). Creative self-beliefs: Their nature, development and correlates. In J. C. Kaufman & J. Baer (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to creativity and reason in cognitive development. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Larsen, R. J., & Diener, E. (1987). Affect intensity as an individual difference characteristic: A review. Journal of Research in Personality, 21(1), 1–39. Lin, W. L., Tsai, P. H., Lin, H. Y., & Chen, H. C. (2014). How does emotion influence different creative performances? The mediating role of cognitive flexibility. Cognition and Emotion, 28, 834–844. Lubart, T. I., & Getz, I. (1997). Emotion, metaphor and the creative process. Creativity. Research Journal, 10, 285– 302. Mace, M. A., & Ward, T. (2002). Modeling the creative process: A grounded theory analysis of creativity in the domain of art making. Creativity Research Journal, 14, 179–192. Marsh, H. W., & Hattie, J. (1996). Theoretical perspectives on the structure of self-concept. In B. A. Bracken (Ed.), Handbook of self-concept (pp. 38–90). New York, NY: Wiley. Piechowski, M. M., & Cunningham, K. (1985). Patterns of overexcitability in a group of artists. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 19, 153–174. Russ, S. (2014). Pretend play in childhood: Foundation of adult creativity. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Sanchez-Ruiz, M. J., Hernández-Torrano, D., Pérez-González, J. C., Batey, M., & Petrides, K. V. (2011). The relationship between trait emotional intelligence and creativity across subject domains. Motivation and Emotion, 35, 461–473. Sternberg, R. J., & Lubart, T. I. (1995). Defying the crowd: Cultivating creativity in a culture of conformity. New York, NY: Free Press. Tsai, J. L. (2007). Ideal affect: Cultural causes and behavioural consequences. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 242–259. Yakmaci-Guzel, B., & Akarsu, F. (2006). Comparing overexcitabilities of gifted and nongifted 10th grade students in Turkey. High Ability Studies, 17, 43–56. Zenasni, F., & Lubart, T. (2008). Emotion related-traits moderate the impact of emotional state on creative potential. Journal of Individual Differences, 29, 157–167. Zenasni, F., & Lubart, T. I. (2009). Perception of emotion, alexithymia and creative potential. Personality and Individual Differences, 46, 353–358. Zenasni, F., & Lubart, T. (2011). Creativity and emotion: A preliminary study relating the perceived pleasantness of creative tasks to creative performance. Creativity and Thinking Skills, 6, 49–56.
POTENTIAL AREAS OF SOCIAL OR EMOTIONAL RISK INTRODUCTION What heightens the vulnerability of gifted children? Are there things we can do to mitigate the effects of potential risk factors? One of the recurring themes in the pages to follow is the many ways that interpersonal, intrapersonal, and environmental factors can interact with one another to result in negative developmental outcomes for gifted children. This subtle interplay explains why research findings on this topic frequently seem inconsistent. Risk depends not on one or two things interacting in a unidirectional relationship, but on a dynamic interplay between intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental factors. All of the authors in this section stress the importance of perspective—how research findings vary depending on which lens is worn. Students frequently view themselves differently from parents or teachers, and clinicians see things through different lenses than school personnel. We need to take perspective into account when making sense of risk and protective factors. Related to this is the fact that psychosocial functioning is fluid and changes over time. Taking a snapshot at one point in time will never adequately explain the dynamism of children’s development. As you read this section, note the diversity of factors that seem to make a difference and the recurring themes that emerge across concerns. Megan Foley-Nicpon echoes Pfeiffer’s idea that “giftedness adds complexity to an individual.” How might considering giftedness as a factor that both shapes and is shaped by other factors influence our understanding of resilience and risk in gifted children?
DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE AMONG GIFTED CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS TRACY L. CROSS AND LORI ANDERSEN
INTRODUCTION Historically, there have been two opposing viewpoints about the effect of giftedness on the psychological wellbeing of gifted individuals (Neihart, 1999): (a) giftedness benefits the individual because she or he has positive characteristics that create a greater understanding that protects her or him from maladjustment or (b) that giftedness is a detriment to the individual because of increased sensitivity that makes her or him more likely to be maladjusted. Depression and suicidal behaviors are specific indicators of adjustment that are often related and of major importance because of their serious effects. Some common characteristics of gifted children are thought to be risk factors for depression and suicidal behaviors, such as asynchronous development, maladaptive perfectionism, social introversion, and heightened sensitivity. To date, the empirical evidence that depression (Martin, Burns, & Schonlau, 2010; Mueller, 2009; Neihart, 1999) and suicidal behaviors (Cross & Cross, 2015; Cross, 2013) occur at higher or lower rates for gifted students than other students is inconclusive. However, phenomenological studies and clinical evidence reveal that highly gifted students may intentionally deceive those around them and mask the symptoms of depression (Jackson & Peterson, 2003). This implies that when gifted students answer questionnaires about depression and suiciderelated behaviors, they may not answer honestly.
MAJOR FINDINGS: DEPRESSION According to the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s (2013) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Depressive Disorders include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, major depressive disorder (including major depressive episode), persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, substance/medication-induced depressive disorder, depressive disorder due to another medical condition, other specified depressive disorder, and unspecified depressive disorder. (p. 155) The DSM-5 goes on to state a common feature of all of these disorders is the presence of sad, empty, or irritable mood, accompanied by somatic and cognitive changes that significantly affect the individual’s capacity to function. What differs among them are issues of duration, timing or presumed etiology. (p. 155) Other symptoms include (APA, 2014): ■ changes in appetite that result in weight losses or gains unrelated to dieting; ■ insomnia or oversleeping;
■ ■ ■ ■ ■
loss of energy or increased fatigue; restlessness or irritability; feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt; difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions; and thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide.
Rates of depression are similar in gifted and nongifted populations. For example, Cross, Cassady, Dixon, and Adams (2008) found that the rates of depression amongst gifted adolescents were no higher than those from the normative group. Martin, Burns, and Schonlau (2010) identified six studies conducted between 1983 and 2008 that compared gifted and nongifted students on depression measures and found no statistical difference in their metaanalysis between gifted and nongifted youth with respect to depressive symptomatology. Early studies of gifted and nongifted children found no significant differences between the levels of depression of gifted and nongifted children (e.g., Baker, 1995; Metha & McWhirter, 1997). More recent studies identified differences between gifted and nongifted children, but the results conflict. Two studies found gifted students to be less depressed (Bracken & Brown, 2006; Richards, Encel, & Shute, 2003), while one study found gifted students to be more depressed than their nongifted peers (Benony, Van Der Elst, Chahraoui, Benony, & Marnier, 2007). Each of the three studies used different measures with different informants and involved different age groups, which makes direct comparison between these studies difficult. The participants were predominantly of middle to upper socioeconomic status and were not members of ethnic minority groups. In a study conducted in South Australia, Richards, Encel, and Shute (2003) used multiple sources (i.e., student, parent, and teacher reports) to compare gifted students who were in grade levels 7 to 10 (average age 14.3 years) with nongifted students. The student-reported data indicated gifted students had fewer depressive symptoms, while the parent- and teacherreported data indicated no differences between gifted and nongifted students’ depressive symptoms. These results indicate that the source of information about depressive symptoms matters. In a U.S. study, Bracken and Brown (2006) compared teacher/administrator reports of the behaviors of pairs of children aged 5 to 18, matched on grade, race, and gender, and found the gifted group to be less depressed than the nongifted group. Although it appears from these results that gifted students are less depressed, it may be that teacher/administrator reports are less reliable than parent reports. On the other hand, in France, Benony et al. (2007) compared parent-reported depressive behaviors of children aged 8 to 13 and used a lie scale to invalidate and discard cases from further analysis. When the reports of parents with a tendency to respond as they believe they should (socially desirable responding) were eliminated, depression scores were significantly higher in the gifted group. Given the clinical evidence provided by Jackson and Peterson (2003) of gifted students’ deliberate efforts to mask emotional distress, the validation of cases may be an important factor in improving the reliability of such comparisons. The Benony et al. (2007) study and the Bracken and Brown (2006) study identified similar-sized effects, but in opposite directions. However, differences in source of data (parent vs. teacher) may be important. More recently, Mueller (2009) used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) to compare depressive symptoms between large groups of gifted and nongifted students aged 12 to 19 years old. Based on student-reported data, the gifted group had slightly lower scores on the scale of depression symptoms. Compared to the findings of Martin et al. (2010), the effect size in Mueller (2009) was only slightly larger (-0.17 and -0.29 respectively) and was in the same direction. The findings of Mueller (2009) must be interpreted with some caution because of the method used to identify students as gifted. Students were identified based on scores in the top 5% on a picture vocabulary test that was administered in Add Health, while nongifted students were those who scored within one standard deviation above or below the mean. This is very different than most identification methods of identifying a gifted sample, which generally involve IQ tests, SAT scores, or similar measures. Thus, comparisons between the gifted group in Mueller (2009) and other studies have limited utility. The groups were matched on age, gender, family income level, and ethnicity, but the educational contexts for these students were not identified. Taking all of these findings into consideration, it seems that we do not have sufficient empirical evidence to support the statement that gifted students are less depressed than nongifted students. Nor do we have sufficient evidence to say that gifted students are more depressed than nongifted students. These studies may have been inconclusive because factors that affect depression other than cognitive ability have been neglected. Protective factors reduced depressive symptoms. In Mueller’s (2009) analysis, a hierarchical regression model revealed that protective factors had significant, negative relationships with depression and explained more of the variation in depressive symptoms than demographic factors. In other words, as students’ self-concepts, feelings of parent-family connectedness, and feelings of school belonging were more positive, the fewer depressive symptoms they had. Although this finding was similar for both the gifted and nongifted samples, the effect of school belonging
was more than twice as large for the gifted group than the nongifted group. This supports Neihart’s (1999) conclusion that psychological outcomes, such as depression, depend on a synergistic interaction between personal characteristics and the fit of the educational environment. Characteristics of the gifted student, such as the type of giftedness, the fit of the individual to the educational environment, and qualitative home life factors are more important to predicting depression than cognitive ability (Neihart, 1999, 2002). There is a lack of research pertaining to multicultural differences. Little research has been conducted that examines multicultural differences in the depression of gifted children and adolescents. The bulk of extant research has used samples that are largely comprised of students who are not members of minority groups and who are of higher socioeconomic status. One study that considered ethnicity was Mueller (2009), who found that Hispanic gifted students were likely to have higher depression scores than White gifted students.
MAJOR FINDINGS: SUICIDE Suicide is “death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with any intent to die as a result of the behavior” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2013). More specifically, suicidal behavior includes four types of actions: ideation, gestures, attempts, and completion. Ideation is when someone contemplates or plans suicide. A less well-understood aspect of suicidal behavior is self-directed violence: “behavior that is self-directed and deliberately results in injury or the potential for injury to oneself” (CDC, 2013). Since 2011, the CDC has classified self-directed violence as nonsuicidal if the intent is unclear. Historically, this behavior has been commonly referred to as a suicidal gesture (Cross, 2013). A suicide attempt is “a non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with any intent to die as a result of the behavior. A suicide attempt may or may not result in injury” (CDC, 2013). A completed suicide results from a successful attempt. Completed suicide prevalence rates are reported as a number per 100,000 people. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (2014), the prevalence rate in the U.S. for children between the ages of 5 and 14 years was 0.5 (fewer than 1 per 100,000 children in that age group), and the rate for 15- to 24-year-olds was 10.9. The rate for all age categories in 2012 was 12.5. From this comparison, we can see that the prevalence of completed suicides increases more than 10 per 100,000 people from the 5- to 14-year-olds to the young adult category. Even so, the rate for young adults is still approximately 20% lower than the average across all groups. The attempted and completed suicide prevalence rates of gifted 5- to 24-year-olds cannot be known at this time. National statistics do not report information about giftedness. A few research studies have attempted to determine rates by following groups of gifted students over time. These studies have considerable limitations that make generalizations virtually impossible. For example, they have problematic sampling techniques and look at suicide rates across the lifespan. This does not answer the question about prevalence rates for those between 5 and 24 years old. The most judicious position to take at this point is that the suicide prevalence rates are likely similar to the general population of this age range. Suicide ideation is easier to study because gifted students can be surveyed about their thoughts. Several studies have been conducted that shed light on the prevalence and nature of suicide ideation among gifted students. In addition, psychological autopsies have revealed additional insights into the suicidal mind of gifted students who completed suicide. Cross, Cassady, and Miller (2006) found that suicide ideation occurred in gifted groups at the same or at a slightly lower rate as the nongifted norm group. However, a factor analysis revealed a different structure between the norm group and the gifted group (Cassady & Cross, 2006). The norm group’s conception of suicide ideation was described by three factors: (a) Wishes and Plans to Commit Suicide, (b) Focus on the Responses and Aspects of Others, and (c) Morbid Ideation, while the gifted groups’ conception was described by four factors (a) Suicide Pragmatics, (b) Morbid Fixation, (c) Social Impact, and (d) Social Isolation. This implies that gifted students have a more complex, multifaceted intellectual interpretation of suicide ideation than the norm group (Cassady & Cross, 2006). What follows is what we know about suicide and gifted children and adolescents. 1. Some gifted students die by suicide (Cross, 2013; Cross, Cook, & Dixon, 1996; Cross, Gust-Brey, & Ball, 2002; Hyatt, 2010). 2. Given the current research, it is unknowable whether the prevalence rate of completed or attempted suicidal behavior in the 5- to 24-year-old age range is different from that of the general population (Cross, 2013). 3. There is evidence that suicide ideation rates for the 16- to 18-year-old gifted student age range are at or slightly lower than that of the general population (Cross et al., 2008). 4. There is some evidence that the nature of the suicide ideation of 16- to 18-year-old gifted students is qualitatively different than the norm group (Cassady & Cross, 2006).
5. There is a small amount of evidence that adolescent gifted students are more likely to complete suicide in fewer attempts than the general population (Cross, 2013).
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Research that looks across cultural backgrounds for the 5- to 24-year-old age group on depression and/or suicidal behavior is very limited. Virtually none of it was appropriate for this chapter. However, Mueller (2009) found that gifted Hispanic students were more depressed than White students, even after controlling for protective factors. It may be that the Hispanic students who were identified as gifted in Mueller (2009) using the picture vocabulary test were not recognized as gifted in their educational contexts and may suffer the consequences of a poor educational fit. The picture vocabulary test identifies students based on hearing (or receptive) vocabulary, is independent of reading ability, and is only moderately correlated with standard IQ measures (Mueller, 2009). Obviously, a great deal more research is needed on these topics for this age group with students from diverse backgrounds.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY A major limitation of the current research in this area is the use of small, convenience samples that do not include historically underrepresented gifted students from financially impoverished backgrounds, as well as those from minority groups. Comparisons across studies are difficult because of differences in measurement tools, sources of reporting information, and age stratifications. A methodological issue is reliability problems with self-reported depressive symptoms and suicide-related behaviors because gifted students may try to hide these behaviors. Moreover, the tests and measures we use are far from precise relative to reliability, validity, and diagnostic accuracy. Very little is known about how the rates of depression and suicide-related behaviors may be different for students in different cultural groups or global contexts. Of particular interest is this question: Are rates of depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, borderline personality traits, posttraumatic stress disorder, or suicidal behavior higher when a gifted student has a poor educational fit in school? Although depression and suicide among gifted students have drawn considerable attention from professionals and a great deal has been published on the topic, in 2015, we still cannot say with confidence what the prevalence rates are for suicidal gestures, attempts, or completion among gifted students. Some authors claim that gifted children are more susceptible to suicidal behavior, while others claim that gifted children have qualities that naturally protect them from suicidal behavior (Neihart, 1999). Although reasonable explanations exist on both sides of the argument, neither group has backed up its assertions with data. This is true for three reasons. First, the national statistics reported about people who died via suicide do not indicate gifted status. Second, definitions of giftedness differ, particularly in the U.S., where schools are locally controlled. Consequently, there are varied definitions of giftedness within and across states. Therefore, if a gifted student moves to a school district with a different definition of giftedness than his or her previous school district and subsequently dies via suicide, that information has little chance of becoming known (Cross, 2013). Third, there are few researchers studying this problem. The field could benefit from additional researchers investigating this topic.
IMPLICATIONS Because we know that some gifted students are depressed and some engage in suicidal behaviors, the implications of this research base are that: (1) all educators need to be vigilant in looking for psychological risk factors among students who are in distress, including gifted students; (2) educators should sponsor schoolwide suicide prevention training and strategies, aimed at building a community of care; (3) educators should learn what depression looks like in young children as well as adolescents; (4) counselors and school psychologists need specialized training on depression and suicidal behavior so depression and other psychological maladies, along with suicidal behavior, can be detected early and referred to a mental health professional as appropriate; and (5) given the limitations in the research specific to gifted students and suicide, additional research needs to be conducted that addresses prevalence rates, risk factors, correlates, suicide ideation, and effective school-based strategies for
providing a safe and caring learning environment, and the relationship of appropriate educational fit and its impact on psychological well-being of students from diverse backgrounds.
REFERENCES American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (2014). Prevalence rates. Retrieved from https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. American Psychiatric Association. (2014). Depression. Retrieved from http://www.psychiatry.org/depression Baker, J. A. (1995). Depression and suicidal ideation among academically talented adolescents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 39, 218–223. Benony, H., Van Der Elst, D., Chahraoui, K., Benony, C., & Marnier, J. P. (2007). Link between depression and academic self-esteem in gifted children. L’encephale, 33, 11–20. Bracken, B. A., & Brown, E. F. (2006). Behavioral identification and assessment of gifted and talented students. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 24, 112–122. Cassady, J. C., & Cross, T. L. (2006). A factorial representation of gifted adolescent suicide. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 29, 290–304. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Definitions: Self-directed violence. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/definitions.html Cross, J. R., & Cross, T. L. (2015). Clinical and mental health issues in counseling the gifted individual. Journal of Counseling and Development, 93, 163–172. Cross, T. L. (2013). Suicide among gifted children and adolescents: Understanding the suicidal mind. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Cross, T. L., Cassady, J. C., Dixon, F. A., & Adams, C. M. (2008). The psychology of gifted adolescents as measured by the MMPI-A. Gifted Child Quarterly, 52, 326–339. Cross, T. L., Cassady, J. C., & Miller, T. (2006). Suicide ideation and personality characteristics among gifted adolescents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50, 295–306. Cross, T. L., Cook, R. S., & Dixon, D. N. (1996). Psychological autopsies of three academically talented adolescents who committed suicide. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 7, 403–409. Cross, T. L., Gust-Brey, K., & Ball, P. B. (2002). A psychological autopsy of the suicide of an academically gifted student: Researchers’ and parents’ perspectives. Gifted Child Quarterly, 46, 247–264. Hyatt, L. (2010). A case study of the suicide of a gifted female adolescent: Implications for prediction and prevention. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 33, 514–535. Jackson, P. S., & Peterson, J. (2003). Depressive disorder in highly gifted adolescents. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 14, 175–186. Martin, L. T., Burns, R. M., & Schonlau, M. (2010). Mental disorders among gifted and nongifted youth: A selected review of epidemiologic literature. Gifted Child Quarterly, 54, 31–41. Metha, A., & McWhirter, E. H. (1997). Suicide ideation, depression, and stressful life events among gifted adolescents. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 20, 284–304. Mueller, C. E. (2009). Protective factors as barriers to depression in gifted and nongifted adolescents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 53, 3–14. Neihart, M. (1999). The impact of giftedness on psychological well-being: What does the empirical literature say? Roeper Review, 22, 10–17. Neihart, M. (2002). Gifted children and depression. In M. Neihart, S. M. Reis, N. M. Robinson, & S. M. Moon (Eds.), The social and emotional development of gifted children: What do we know? (pp. 93–102). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Richards, J., Encel, J., & Shute, R. (2003). The emotional and behavioural adjustment of intellectually gifted adolescents: A multi-dimensional, multi-informant approach. High Ability Studies, 14, 153–164.
GIFTED UNDERACHIEVEMENT LIANG SEE TAN, KEITH CHIU KIAN TAN, AND DEEPA SURENDRAN
INTRODUCTION High scores on general ability tests need not always translate to educational achievement, or even basic participation and engagement in the learning process. Students who persistently exhibit a severe discrepancy between superior scores on measures of expected achievement (i.e., cognitive ability assessments or achievement test scores) and actual achievement (i.e., grades) are referred to as gifted underachievers. Moreover, this discrepancy should not be the direct result of a diagnosed learning disability (Reis & McCoach, 2000; Snyder & LinnenbrinkGarcia, 2013). Although it frustrates teachers and parents that students who show great academic promise can persistently underperform (Whitmore, 1980), the understanding of gifted underachievement has improved substantially since it was last labeled a “perplexing phenomenon” (Reis & McCoach, 2000, p. 152). Recent research (2000–2015) has provided a better understanding of the phenomenon by elaborating on its precipitating and related causes, and being more methodical and rigorous. There also has been research on the phenomenon across gender, ethnicities, and cultures.
MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RESEARCH LOOKING INTO THE INDIVIDUAL Underachievement can correspond with a broad range of intrapersonal issues. Previously summarized by Reis and McCoach (2002b), these include depression, anxiety, perfectionism, anger, low self-esteem, maladaptive strategies, social immaturity, and unrecognized learning deficits that interfere with learning and self-regulation. A recent research development among researchers is the interest in measuring constructs such as goal valuation, motivation/self-regulation, and academic self-perception using the School Attitude Assessment Survey–Revised (SAAS-R) (Dedrick, Shaunessy-Dedrick, Suldo, & Ferron, 2015; McCoach & Siegle, 2003a, 2003b). Recently, a study conducted with middle year students revealed that gifted underachievement is associated with poor selfefficacy, expectations to succeed, and self-regulation (Ritchotte, Matthews, & Flowers, 2014). Moreover, Snyder, Malin, Dent, and Linnenbrink-Garcia’s (2014) experimental study with undergraduates showed that priming students with a message that giftedness was fixed, rather than malleable, could lead them to display selfhandicapping behavior. Using the Achievement-Orientation Model, Rubenstein, Siegle, Reis, McCoach, and Burton (2012) designed interventions involving middle school gifted underachievers to improve academic achievement. The initial study found that students’ grades increased over the intervention period—a small effect size; d = .38. Further study on the goal valuation and environmental perceptions treatment conditions showed the greatest academic grade growth; however, the self-efficacy and self-regulation treatment conditions showed little or no grade improvement. Besides psychological issues, studies found that a deficit in fine motor skills predicted lower achievement scores and persistence (Stoeger & Ziegler, 2012; Stoeger, Ziegler, & Martzog, 2008), and had an incremental predictive value for mathematics achievement beyond cognitive abilities (Ziegler & Stoeger, 2010). A neurophysiological study by Staudt and Neubauer (2006) found that school grades are not predictive of brighter underachievers and that
there is evidence of a very distinct cortical activation pattern indicating high cognitive functioning. O’Boyle (2008) found evidence of enhanced right-hemisphere development and reliance on mental imagery in mathematically gifted children and suggested that teaching methods that highlight these features might reduce a risk of underachievement in mathematically gifted children. Furthermore, researchers have studied the complexities and development of gifted underachievement. Using person-centered analytic methods and path analysis, Ritchotte et al. (2014) explored the possibility of complex, nonlinear interactive relationships that may exist within an entire profile of variables. Meanwhile, Snyder and Linnenbrink-Garcia (2013) hypothesized that constellations of beliefs and behaviors emerge from and interact with contextual factors (e.g., academic curriculum, gifted programs) and socialization agents (teachers, parents) in the underachievement model. Thus, we see a shift from linear to multiple pathways in explaining gifted underachievement.
INTERPERSONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Challenges to achievement are also present in students’ environment. Qualitative studies, using a variety of analytical approaches such as in-depth case study analyses, comparative case studies, and ethnographic approach, suggest that unchallenging and isolated classroom experiences, peer pressure, disrespectful teachers, undesirable family dynamics, and inconsistent parenting are contributing factors (Hébert, 2001; Reis & McCoach, 2002a). Low socioeconomic status (Seeley, 2004; Stormont, Stebbins, & Holliday, 2001), teacher personality, teaching style, and curriculum (Hansen & Toso, 2007; Hébert & Schreiber, 2010) also play an important role. Furthermore, Matthews and McBee (2007) investigated the occurrence of underachievement behaviors and found that underachievement behavior is relatively malleable and may change with a suitable modification to the academic and social environment. This finding echoes the finding that social and developmental factors, rather than academic satisfaction, were found to ensure life satisfaction after high school in a longitudinal study (Peterson, 2002). In an in-depth case study, Speirs Neumeister & Hébert (2003) found that although the informant demonstrated typical behaviors associated with underachievement, he seemed to have good self-regulatory and metacognitive abilities. This finding suggests the need to consider the underlying attitudes and motivations of student behavior when gauging the appropriate intervention approaches to help gifted underachievers.
THE SELECTIVE UNDERACHIEVER Delisle and Galbraith (2002) differentiated between two types of underachievers: (1) conventional underachievers and (2) selectively consuming underachievers who choose not to perform for various reasons. Evidence from qualitative studies support this categorization (Hansen & Toso, 2007; Hébert & Schreiber, 2010; Kanevsky & Keighley, 2003; Speirs Neumeister & Hébert, 2003). However, in a quantitative study, Figg, Rogers, McCormick, and Low (2012) tested two factors: high academic self-perception and a learning preference for independence and complexity. They failed to obtain clear evidence that distinguished selective underachievers from conventional underachievers.
CHALLENGES TO ACHIEVE ACROSS GENDER In the area of mathematical performance, males frequently outperform females. Bergner and Neubauer (2011) found consistent evidence for this in gifted underachieving female adolescents; their performance was linked to their inferior spatial abilities. In another study, gifted females were found to have lower math self-concept, levels of motivation to succeed, and aspiration levels when compared with males (Schober, Reimann, & Wagner, 2004). A quantitative study conducted in Australia with high school students showed that intrinsic motivation had the highest correlation with math achievement and can be used to differentiate males’ and females’ performance (Abu-Hamour & Al-Hmouz, 2013). Meanwhile, males are significantly more likely to be identified as gifted underachievers than females (Siegle & McCoach, 2013). Qualitative studies suggest that at least some of this difference results from masculine peer group values that reward athletics more than academics, and gifted males’ tendency to have issues with behavior and discipline (Hébert, 2001; Hébert & Schreiber, 2010). Moreover, Hébert and Olenchak (2000) found that having an open-minded and nonjudgmental mentor, consistent and personalized social and emotional support and advocacy, and strength- and interest-based strategies would provide a significant advantage to male gifted underachievers. See also Chapter 2.
STUDIES IN DIFFERENT CULTURES African American. There has been considerable research that highlights the difficulties African Americans face in achieving academically (Ford, 1994; Ford & Moore, 2013; Harmon, 2001). A consistent research theme is that academic success is viewed as “acting White”—a negative attribute on the part of the individual and a betrayal of one’s culture among African American students (Ford & Whiting, 2011; Fordham & Ogbu, 1986). Accordingly, Worrell’s (2007) study on gifted middle and high school students showed ethnic identity to be a negative predictor of school achievement for African American students, but not for White, Hispanic, or Asian American students. Further investigation found African American students show an attitude-behavior discrepancy, face negative peer pressures, and attribute “acting White” to school achievement (Ford, Grantham, & Whiting, 2008). These findings suggest attitudinal change is the key to reversing academic underachievement. Studies outside the U.S. Studies conducted in Turkey, Taiwan, and Hong Kong consistently found that motivation variables were important factors in discriminating between achievers and underachievers (Baslanti & McCoach, 2006; Kao & Kellegrew, 2000; Lau & Chan, 2001). However, Lau and Chan’s study revealed that gifted underachievers did not demonstrate the same maladaptive attributional pattern as described in the Western studies. Studies that examine school as a contributing factor to gifted underachievement suggest different reasons in different educational contexts. Although Schultz’s (2002a) phenomenological case study revealed that gifted students can underachieve when the school does not provide meaningful learning experiences, other studies in Hong Kong found that the combination of high-ability grouped schools coupled with highly competitive classrooms may not be the best for maximizing the affective learning outcomes of gifted students (Cheung & Rudowicz, 2003; Wong & Watkins, 2001).
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY Despite notable progress in the research, there is a noticeable lack of certain study methodologies and topics. First, conceptual and review papers outnumber empirical studies in the last 15 years. Although the former academic papers are important, it is the empirical studies that allow the verification and validation of different models of underachievement. Second, there are insufficient intervention studies (Rubenstein et al., 2012) to verify current models and develop new hypothetical models. Future intervention studies should be designed so as to pinpoint the effects of specific dimensions of underachievement, which would then provide clear direction to customize facilitative educational contexts. Third, most studies reviewed were cross-sectional investigation. Cohort studies are useful to capture and depict gifted underachievement that might manifest differently over time according to age, gender, and possibly cognitive level. There is a need for more developmental studies to document the developmental trajectory of gifted underachievement. Such studies render opportunities to understand the nuances of gifted underachievement. Fourth, emerging research in neuroscience has added a new dimension to the study of gifted underachievement. Evidence has been found for different cortical activation patterns when comparing gifted underachievers to average underachievers (Staudt & Neubauer, 2006), and such activation patterns differ according to gender and intelligence (Bergner & Neubauer, 2011). These findings warrant further study. Finally, researchers such as Landis and Reschly (2013) and Schultz (2002b) suggested other researchers might consider using alternative theory (e.g., student engagement theory) approaches and theoretical arguments (e.g., critical theory) to examine gifted underachievement.
IMPLICATIONS The recent findings have practical implications for parents and teachers in terms of physiological, cognitive, and psychosocial development. It is worthwhile for parents and teachers to be attentive to the development of their child’s fine motor skills and conscientiously promote a growth mindset (Dweck & Leggett, 1988) in their children. Moreover, parents and teachers should be vigilant of the appropriate level of cognitive challenge and competitiveness in the learning environment. A concerted effort in strengthening cognitive strategies such as selfregulation, study skills, and metacognition skills would promote intrinsic motivation and increase academic self-
perception, which would enhance self-worth and reduce the risk of underachievement. Finally, besides engaging gifted students intellectually with open-ended and complex tasks, teachers might provide scaffolding (O’Connor, Dearing, & Collins, 2011) for key social and academic skills and forge positive teacher-student relationships to facilitate safe and secure learning environments. Such supports have positive impact on students’ social and academic outcomes in school and later employment.
REFERENCES Abu-Hamour, B., & Al-Hmouz, H. (2013). A study of gifted high, moderate, and low achievers in their personal characteristics and attitudes toward school and teachers. International Journal of Special Education, 28, 5–15. Baslanti, U., & McCoach, D. B. (2006). Factors related to the underachievement of university students in Turkey. Roeper Review, 28, 210–215. Bergner, S., & Neubauer, A. C. (2011). Sex and training differences in mental rotation: A behavioral and neurophysiological comparison of gifted achievers, gifted underachievers and average intelligent achievers. High Ability Studies, 22, 155–177. Cheung, C.-K., & Rudowicz, E. (2003). Underachievement and attributions among students attending schools stratified by student ability. Social Psychology of Education, 6, 303–323. Dedrick, R. F., Shaunessy-Dedrick, E., Suldo, S. M., & Ferron, J. M. (2015). Psychometric properties of the School Attitude Assessment Survey–Revised with International Baccalaureate high school students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 59, 38–54. Delisle, J. R., & Galbraith, J. (2002). When gifted kids don’t have all the answers: How to meet their social and emotional needs. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit. Dweck, C. S., & Leggett, E. L. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95, 256–273. Figg, S. D., Rogers, K. B., McCormick, J., & Low, R. (2012). Differentiating low performance of the gifted learner: Achieving, underachieving, and selective consuming students. Journal of Advanced Academics, 23, 53–71. Ford, D. Y. (1994). Nurturing resilience in gifted black youth. Roeper Review, 17, 80–85. Ford, D. Y., Grantham, T. C., & Whiting, G. W. (2008). Another look at the achievement gap: Learning from the experiences of gifted black students. Urban Education, 43, 216–239. Ford, D. Y., & Moore, III, J. L. (2013). Understanding and reversing underachievement, low achievement, and achievement gaps among high-ability African American males in urban school contexts. Urban Review, 45, 399–415. Ford, D. Y., & Whiting, G. W. (2011). Beyond testing: Social and psychological considerations in recruiting and retaining gifted black students. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 34, 131–155. Fordham, S., & Ogbu, J. U. (1986). Black students’ school success: Coping with the “burden of ‘acting White.’” Urban Review, 18, 176–206. Hansen, J. B., & Toso, S. J. (2007). Gifted dropouts: Personality, family, social, and school factors. Gifted Child Today, 30(4), 30–41. Harmon, D. (2001). They won’t teach me: The voices of gifted African American inner-city students. Roeper Review, 24, 68–75. Hébert, T. P. (2001). ‘If I had a new notebook, I know things would change’: Bright underachieving young men in urban classrooms. Gifted Child Quarterly, 45, 174–194. Hébert, T. P., & Olenchak, F. R. (2000). Mentors for gifted underachieving males: Developing potential and realizing promise. Gifted Child Quarterly, 44, 196–207. Hébert, T. P., & Schreiber, C. A. (2010). An examination of selective achievement in gifted males. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 33, 570–605. Kanevsky, L., & Keighley, T. (2003). To produce or not to produce? Understanding boredom and the honor in underachievement. Roeper Review, 26, 20–28. Kao, C. C., & Kellegrew, D. H. (2000). Self-concept, achievement and occupation in gifted Taiwanese adolescents. Occupational Therapy International, 7, 121–133. Landis, R. N., & Reschly, A. L. (2013). Reexamining gifted underachievement and dropout through the lens of student engagement. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 36, 220–249. Lau, K.-L., & Chan, D. W. (2001). Motivational characteristics of under-achievers in Hong Kong. Educational Psychology, 21, 417–430. Matthews, M. S., & McBee, M. T. (2007). School factors and the underachievement of gifted students in a talent
search summer program. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51, 167–181. McCoach, D. B., & Siegle, D. (2003a). Factors that differentiate underachieving gifted students from high-achieving gifted students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 47, 144–154. McCoach, D. B., & Siegle, D. (2003b). The School Attitude Assessment Survey–Revised: A new instrument to identify academically able students who underachieve. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 63, 414– 429. O’Boyle, M. W. (2008). Mathematically gifted children: Develop-mental brain characteristics and their prognosis for well-being. Roeper Review, 30, 181–186. O’Connor, E. E., Dearing, E., & Collins, B. A. (2011).Teacher-child relationship and behavior problem trajectories in elementary school. American Educational Research Journal, 48(1), 120–162. Peterson, J. S. (2002). A longitudinal study of post-high-school development in gifted individuals at risk for poor educational outcomes. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 14, 6–18. Reis, S. M., & McCoach, D. B. (2000). The underachievement of gifted students: What do we know and where do we go? Gifted Child Quarterly, 44, 152. Reis, S. M., & McCoach, D. B. (2002a). Underachievement in gifted and talented students with special needs. Exceptionality, 10, 113–125. Reis, S. M., & McCoach, D. B. (2002b). Underachievement in gifted students. In M. Neihart, S. M. Reis, N. M. Robinson, & S. M. Moon (Eds.), The social and emotional development of gifted children: What do we know? (pp. 81–91). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Ritchotte, J. A., Matthews, M. S., & Flowers, C. P. (2014). The validity of the achievement-orientation model for gifted middle school students: An exploratory study. Gifted Child Quarterly, 58, 183–198. Rubenstein, L. D., Siegle, D., Reis, S. M., McCoach, D. B., & Burton, M. G. (2012). A complex quest: The development and research of underachievement interventions for gifted students. Psychology in the Schools, 49, 678–694. Schober, B., Reimann, R., & Wagner, P. (2004). Is research on gender-specific underachievement in gifted girls an obsolete topic? New findings on an often discussed issue. High Ability Studies, 15, 43–62. Schultz, R. A. (2002a). Illuminating realities: A phenomenological view from two underachieving gifted learners. Roeper Review, 24, 203–212. Schultz, R. A. (2002b). Understanding giftedness and underachievement: At the edge of possibility. Gifted Child Quarterly, 46, 193–208. Seeley, K. (2004). Gifted and talented students at risk. Focus on Exceptional Children, 37, 1–8. Siegle, D., & McCoach, D. B. (2013). Underachieving gifted students. In C. M. Callahan & H. L. Hertberg-Davis (Eds.), Fundamentals of gifted education: Considering multiple perspectives (pp. 377–387). New York, NY: Routledge. Snyder, K. E., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2013). A developmental, person-centered approach to exploring multiple motivational pathways in gifted underachievement. Educational Psychologist, 48, 209–228. Snyder, K. E., Malin, J. L., Dent, A. L., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2014). The message matters: The role of implicit beliefs about giftedness and failure experiences in academic self-handicapping. Journal of Educational Psychology, 106, 230–241. Speirs Neumeister, K. L., & Hébert, T. P. (2003). Underachievement versus selective achievement: Delving deeper and discovering the difference. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 26, 221–238. Staudt, B., & Neubauer, A. C. (2006). Achievement, underachievement and cortical activation: A comparative EEG study of adolescents of average and above-average intelligence. High Ability Studies, 17, 3–16. Stoeger, H., & Ziegler, A. (2012). Deficits in fine motor skills and their influence on persistence among gifted elementary school pupils. Gifted Education International, 29, 28–42. Stoeger, H., Ziegler, A., & Martzog, P. (2008). Deficits in fine motor skill as an important factor in the identification of gifted underachievers in primary school. Psychology Science, 50, 134. Stormont, M., Stebbins, M. S., & Holliday, G. (2001). Characteristics and educational support needs of underrepresented gifted adolescents. Psychology in the Schools, 38, 413–423. Whitmore, J. R. (1980). Giftedness, conflict, and underachievement. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. Wong, M. S. W., & Watkins, D. A. (2001). Self-esteem and ability grouping: A Hong Kong investigation of the Big Fish Little Pond Effect. Educational Psychology, 21, 79–87. Worrell, F. C. (2007). Ethnic identity, academic achievement, and global self-concept in four groups of academically talented adolescents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51, 23–38. Ziegler, A., & Stoeger, H. (2010). How fine motor skills influence the assessment of high abilities and underachievement in math. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 34, 195–219.
THE SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF TWICE-EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN MEGAN FOLEY-NICPON
INTRODUCTION The concept of twice-exceptionality has been written about in gifted and special education publications since the 1980s (e.g., Baum, 1984; Baum & Owen, 1988; Yewchuk & Lupart, 1988), and seminal studies and scholarly works (e.g., Brody & Mills, 1997; Neihart, 2008; Nielsen, 2002; Silverman, 1989) have established some key social and emotional features specific to this population. This chapter reviews the empirical research regarding the social and emotional development of twice-exceptional children, discusses issues specific to diverse populations and limitations to current research, and provides implications for working with twice-exceptional students in educational and counseling environments. This examination is critical to the field so that professionals can work effectively with this unique population of learners (Foley-Nicpon, Assouline, & Colangelo, 2013; Leggett, Shea, & Leggett, 2011) because their needs are often different from children identified solely for gifted or special education services. Pfeiffer (2013) identified five factors that complicate therapeutic work and research with high-ability students with a coexisting disability or mental health diagnosis. First, researchers have yet to examine onset differences among those identified as twice-exceptional (e.g., which came first, the giftedness or the disability, or did they occur simultaneously?). Second, there is dispute regarding whether giftedness somehow puts one at greater risk for experiencing psychological concerns; however, research findings typically refute this belief (e.g., Assouline & Colangelo, 2006; Lee, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Thomson, 2012; Olszewski-Kubilius, Lee, & Thomson, 2014). Third, because the concept of “gifted” is socially constructed, it may be useful to consider gifted as an aspect of a client’s identity rather than something the client “is” or “is not.” Fourth, instead of thinking of a student as having “comorbid” giftedness and disability, it may help to consider giftedness as adding complexity to the person with the diagnosed disability. Finally, some high-ability students may have a misdiagnosis (e.g., the child is diagnosed with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD] but does not, in fact, meet DSM-5 criteria for ADHD [APA, 2013]) or a missed diagnosis (e.g., the child is not diagnosed with ADHD but does, in fact, meet DSM-5 criteria; Pfeiffer, 2013).
MAJOR FINDINGS Although scholarly discussions surrounding twice-exceptionality are booming, empirical investigation continues to be sparse (Foley-Nicpon, Allmon, Sieck, & Stinson, 2011) and there are few studies of gifted youth with depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety (Martin, Burns, & Schonlau, 2010). More recent efforts, such as the Gifted Child Quarterly special issue on twice-exceptionality (Foley-Nicpon, 2013), and the proposal for a unifying definition for researchers and educators (Reis, Baum, & Burke, 2014), are addressing this void. General findings concerning the social and emotional needs of gifted students with disabilities will first be shared followed by specific findings related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, and learning disability (LD), since these are the three diagnoses for which the most research is available (Foley Nicpon et al., 2011).
Twice-exceptional students’ success in academic domains may be connected to their social and emotional development. For example, Willard-Holt, Weber, Morrison, and Horgan’s (2013) mixed methods analysis of successful twice-exceptional students demonstrated their need for resilience and perseverance, given that almost all of the 16 participants did not report feeling supported in their school environments. All said they developed their strengths to compensate for their weaknesses through trial and error until they discovered effective problem-solving techniques. Baum, Schader, and Hébert’s (2014) recent qualitative study emphasized how employing a strengthsbased approach toward educating twice-exceptional students positively impacts their academic and social and emotional development. Parents of successful twice-exceptional adolescents and young adults stressed the need to “normalize” and obtain support for their children’s disabilities, while at the same time maintain high expectations for performance within their talent domains (Speirs Neumeister, Yssel, & Burney, 2013). They helped their children develop self-advocacy skills to foster independence as they transitioned into adulthood. Conversely, factors that may be displayed in twice-exceptional students, such as low motivation, hypersensitivity, and difficulty with organization may be linked to removal from gifted programming due to having poor grades (VanTassel-Baska, Feng, Swanson, Quek, & Chandler, 2009). Denial of gifted education experiences, however, may have a negative cyclical effect on twice-exceptional students by impacting motivation and selfconcept. As the children age, negative early experiences could decrease the confidence required to take risks and enroll in challenging classes, such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate (Schultz, 2012).
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER Some of the original work examining psychosocial functioning among high-ability students with ASD was through case study design. For example, Assouline, Foley-Nicpon, and Doobay (2009) described two profoundly gifted girls, one with ASD and one without, who were very similar cognitively, yet differed in their psychosocial functioning. Parent and teacher observations were that the gifted girl had better social skills, leadership skills, and positive social interactions than the gifted girl with ASD. Yet, the gifted girls’ own reports of their psychosocial functioning were fairly similar, with the gifted girl reporting more social difficulties but also more self-reliance than the gifted girl with ASD. In a more recent study, researchers examined the psychosocial development of gifted children with ASD in comparison to gifted children without a diagnosis (Doobay, Foley-Nicpon, Ali, & Assouline, 2014). Findings indicated that more than 50% of the parents reported their gifted children with ASD exhibited problematic levels of “odd” or eccentric behaviors, withdrew from peers and social interactions, and had symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, depression, difficulty with adapting to change, and poor social skills. Similarly, more than 50% of teachers observed problems in the gifted children with ASD: trouble adapting to change, exhibiting “odd” or eccentric behaviors, depression, and withdrawal from social situations. The students, however, generally did not share the same concerns as their parents or teachers; mean values for all psychosocial scales were in the average range. Additionally, psychosocial functioning may change as gifted children with ASD develop. Specifically, parents and teachers of older gifted adolescents with ASD reported better adaptability to change and fewer “odd” or eccentric behaviors than did those of younger gifted children with ASD (Foley-Nicpon, Doobay, & Assouline, 2010). To answer the question whether students who are talented in math and science possess similar social deficits as students with ASD, Kuo, Liang, Tseng, and Gau (2014) compared math and science talented students with math and science average-ability students, students with ASD, and typically developing students, all who identified as Chinese. They reported that students with ASD had greater difficulties with social awareness, social reciprocity, and social communication. They also had greater emotional reactivity and less ability to recognize the emotions of others. Disputing potential misconceptions that those gifted in the sciences possess social deficits, the students with ASD displayed psychosocial and communication difficulties that the academically talented or typically developing students did not.
ATTENTION DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER Few studies have examined the psychosocial development of gifted students with ADHD, but some research findings suggest that the core diagnostic symptoms may be less severe in gifted children. For example, use of psychostimulants with gifted children with ADHD appears to be just as effective as it is with average-ability children with ADHD, but gifted students present with overall less severe attention, social, and externalizing problems than their nongifted counterparts (Grizenko, Zhang, Polotskaia, & Joober, 2012). Other findings imply gifted children with ADHD do not underachieve relative to peers without a diagnosis (Bussing et al., 2012), which
suggests their high ability may serve as a protective factor. Yet, in Foley-Nicpon, Rickels, Assouline, and Richards’ (2012) investigation of 112 gifted children (54 with ADHD), results indicated that the gifted students with ADHD reported significantly lower self-esteem, behavioral self-concept, and overall happiness than the gifted students without a diagnosis. However, the two groups did not differ in key self-concept domains, such as interpersonal relationships, self-reliance, social stress, perceived intelligence, physical appearance, ability to deal with anxiety, and popularity. These generally positive findings are in direct contradiction to other research that found gifted students with ADHD have social and emotional challenges. In two similar case study analyses (Moon, Zentall, Grskovic, Hall, & Stormont, 2001; Zentall, Moon, Hall, & Grskovic, 2001), boys identified as both gifted and ADHD had greater social and emotional distress, peer difficulties, and problems with executive functioning than gifted boys, and boys with ADHD. Other large-scale research findings are similar. Specifically Antshel and colleagues (2007, 2008) found that gifted children with ADHD were more likely to repeat grades, need academic support, and present with coexisting psychological difficulties than gifted children without a diagnosis. As young adults, they reported more mood, anxiety, and disruptive behaviors compared to gifted peers without a diagnosis, as well as greater social and academic difficulties. These studies validated the presence of ADHD among gifted children, but suggested symptom onset may be later due to their advanced cognitive skills. In a related study, gifted adults with ADHD reported poorer quality of life and family and occupational functioning, and anxiety and depression symptoms similar to average-ability adults with ADHD (Antshel et al., 2009). Some researchers have demonstrated the nuances involved in distinguishing ADHD from giftedness. This may be because gifted students with ADHD commonly score within the average range on measures used to diagnose ADHD (e.g., Conners 3, Tests of Variable Attention, etc.; Antshel et al., 2010; Chae, Kim, & Noh, 2003; Wood, 2012). Differentiation may also be challenging because of symptom overlap (Rinn & Reynolds, 2012). For example, counselors in training and preservice teachers were more likely to attribute ADHD as a rationale for behaviors thought to overlap among children with ADHD and gifted children (e.g., inattention when bored/underchallenged, carelessness, questioning authority, etc.) than they were to consider giftedness (Hartnett, Nelson, & Rinn, 2004; Rinn & Nelson, 2009). However, these professionals do not make mental health diagnoses, so the more relevant question may be whether they are able to determine when referral is necessary to rule in (or out) ADHD (FoleyNicpon et al., 2013). These complex issues with diagnosis validate the need for comprehensive evaluation, not sole reliance on rating scales, to make a diagnosis of ADHD (Foley-Nicpon et al., 2010).
LEARNING DISABILITIES Most of the recent literature in the area of gifted students with learning disabilities has focused more on identification (e.g., McCallum et al., 2013) and questioning the existence of the dual exceptionality (e.g., Lovett & Sparks, 2013) than on related social and emotional concerns. In one case study analysis of a gifted high school student with a LD, findings indicated that early identification of talent domains, coupled with encouragement toward obtaining goals, flexibility, and emotional support from adults, helped the student succeed (Hua, 2002). Unfortunately, many twice-exceptional students do not report experiencing such supportive school situations (Willard-Holt et al., 2013). Assouline, Foley-Nicpon, and Whiteman’s (2010) examination of the psychosocial profiles of gifted students with a written language LD revealed that generally parent, teacher, and self-observations were in the average range. Teachers viewed the students as having trouble adapting to change and parents reported more externalizing behaviors (e.g., aggression, hyperactivity) than did teachers, as well as increased withdrawal from social situations, inattention, and “odd” or eccentric behaviors. Similar to gifted children with ASD, the students did not report social or emotional concerns. In a larger study, Barber and Mueller (2011) examined data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, identifying 90 gifted students with parent-reported learning disabilities and three matched comparison groups. The twice-exceptional students’ self-perceptions and self-concepts generally were closer to the students with learning disabilities than they were with any other group, and were lower than that of gifted or nonidentified students. Support from parents was recognized as a mediating factor in determining selfperceptions. Psychosocial concerns for gifted students with LD may extend into adulthood, particularly if they experienced lack of understanding about their strengths and areas for growth in earlier years (Reis, Neu, & McGuire, 1995). In their study of 80 high-ability adults with learning disabilities, Holliday, Koller, and Thomas (1999) discovered that most were underemployed, one-third were diagnosed with a coexisting mental health disorder, and another third had received counseling and/or medication intervention. Those who did attend college identified using many compensation strategies, including programs for students with learning disabilities. Those deemed “successful”
young adults found a major within their talent domain, which typically did not emphasize use of skills associated with their disability.
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES One of the biggest limitations of the current research on twice-exceptionality is the lack of racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse samples, which has been noted by scholars examining diagnostic limitations in general populations of children with psychological disorders such as ADHD (e.g., Morgan, Hillemeier, Farkas, & Maczuga, 2014) and ASD (Zuckerman et al., 2013), as well as twice-exceptional populations (e.g., Doobay et al., 2014; Speirs Neumeister et al., 2013). Two studies reviewed in this chapter (Chae et al., 2003; Kuo et al., 2014) reported results from research conducted with participants from China, but the rest were mainly Caucasian samples from the United States. Most of the studies also have predominantly male samples, mainly because the coexisting disorders are typically more prevalent in males (APA, 2013). Others have noted the social class issues inherent in this population (Grizenko et al., 2012; Speirs Neumeister et al., 2013). That is, many of the supports provided for successful twiceexceptional children are only accessible to those with financial resources. The psychosocial needs of twiceexceptional students should be addressed, regardless of parents’ financial ability to provide this support.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY Our understanding of the social and emotional presentation of twice-exceptional students is improving, but there is still much to learn. There are several potential reasons why the research in twice-exceptionality is limited; it may be because of the low incidence of the population, limited access to the students, and low interest in the population from an empirical lens. Additionally, within the extant literature, there are also many concerns. Overall, what we know regarding twice-exceptional students is based on extremely small sample sizes, most of which are clinic-based (Pfeiffer, 2013). These types of samples are not generalizable to the population and, thus, findings can be misleading. Additionally, samples do not always include identified twice-exceptional students; instead, participants possess symptoms consistent with a diagnosis but are not formally diagnosed. What constitutes an LD varies from state to state depending on the identification strategy employed in schools (i.e., RtI vs. comprehensive evaluation vs. the discrepancy model), further complicating the issue. Similarly, there is not an operational definition of giftedness or twice-exceptionality that is used in a uniform way in research, making comparisons between studies challenging. Studies rarely employ a well-defined comparison group, thus causal relationships cannot be established and there have been few, if any, longitudinal studies. When control groups are present, the comparison is commonly to gifted students without a disability, not to students with a psychological diagnosis and not a gifted identification. This makes twice-exceptional students’ differences (or similarities) to special education populations unknown. There are several possible directions for the future. Overall, scholars must ground their investigations in standard definitions, such as what Reis and colleagues (2014) provided. From this foundation, researchers could examine the social and emotional development of the twice-exceptional over time to better determine developmental changes. This could begin to address Pfeiffer’s (2013) concern about the temporal aspects of giftedness and disability, as well as primary versus secondary identities. It would also be valuable to differentiate investigations based on diagnosis and talent domain. That is, do the social and emotional presentations of twice-exceptional students vary based on diagnosis or area of talent? Others could investigate identity as it relates to being told one is both “gifted” and has a “disability,” and whether diagnostic category, educational intervention, family constellation, or other environmental factors matter in terms of social and emotional health. Furthermore, seminal concepts regarding the social and emotional development of gifted children, such as the benefit of exposure to like-minded peers (e.g., Rogers, 2007), should be tested with twice-exceptional children. And, finally, samples must be more diverse, reflecting various races/ethnicities, cultures, genders, and socioeconomic statuses.
IMPLICATIONS The following are practical implications one can glean from the existing research examining the social and emotional development of twice-exceptional children:
1. In general, twice-exceptional children appear to have more complex social and emotional presentations than their gifted peers without a diagnosis. This implies that twice-exceptional students may need additional interventions, such as counseling and other mental health services. See Chapter 19. 2. Focusing on talent development and exposure to environments where students’ gifts are fostered and their difficulties are remediated may benefit the social and emotional development of twice-exceptional children. Programs such as Baum and colleagues’ (2014) are models of this approach that could be modified to fit with a gifted program’s philosophy and content area focus. 3. Professional development is crucial to ensure that gifted students with learning disabilities are considered for gifted programs as they may be missed or not referred by their regular or special education teachers (Bianco, 2005; Crim, Hawkins, Ruban, & Johnson, 2008). 4. Psychosocial functioning may improve over time among twice-exceptional youth. If psychotherapy and other mental health interventions are sought, improvements may be greater, depending on the child’s disability (Weisz, Weiss, Han, Granger, & Morton, 1995). 5. Although parents and educators observe social and emotional difficulties in twice-exceptional children, it is not common for the student to report similar difficulties. 6. Comprehensive assessment is necessary to sort out the nuances present in the social and emotional presentation of twice-exceptional students so that misdiagnosis is avoided.
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LIVING IN THE IN-BETWEEN HIGH CREATIVELY AND EMOTIONAL VULNERABILITIES RHODA MYRA GARCES-BACSAL We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. —Oscar Wilde
INTRODUCTION The literature on creativity and its psychological correlates has been divided into several camps. There are scholars who take on a historiometric approach that analyzes retrospective biographical data on eminent creators (Galton, 1869; Simonton, 2014), psychiatric studies that take advantage of existing clinical diagnoses (Ko & Kim, 2008; Rawlings & Locarnini, 2008), psychometric studies contingent on application of established assessment methods (Verhaeghen, Joormann, & Aikman, 2014), and neuroscientific research studies that provide brain-based and genetic research to explain the connection between creativity and psychological vulnerabilities (Andreasen, 2014; Carson, 2011; Keri, 2009). Other academics tap into the intuitive, largely qualitative, and unexplored terrains of what it means to have a tolerance for ambiguity, focusing largely on the lived experience and nuanced understanding of what it means to look at the familiar with strange eyes (Jamison, 1993; Piirto, 2005). This chapter uses Neihart’s (1998) definition of creativity as the production of something that is both new and valued while madness is defined as self-destructive deviant behavior.
EVOLVING CONCEPTIONS ON CREATIVITY AND MADNESS The dynamic link between high creatives and emotional vulnerabilities is said to be established as early as the 1830s (Becker, 2000–2001), with the first exhaustive investigation credited to Lombroso’s The Man of Genius, published in 1891. Attempts have been made to trace the sociohistorical origins of creativity and madness throughout the pivotal periods of Western history: Greek Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Romanticism, and the Age of Enlightenment (Thys, Sabbe, & De Hert, 2013). Creativity was once believed to be a form of special power conferred by the gods, which the ancient Greeks eventually relegated to the individual artist’s daimon (Becker, 2000–2001). Since then, more researchers have sought to untangle the threads that weave creativity and psychopathology in a multilayered mosaic. Simonton (2010) summarized the primary research findings into three categories, a classification that I am presently using with slight variation, to demonstrate the evolving conceptions in research: high creatives (1) are crazy, (2) are sane, or (3) have a shared vulnerability model.
TOUCHED WITH MADNESS In Neihart and Olenchak’s (2002) earlier chapter on this topic, there was an emphasis on the link between creative giftedness and mood disorder. There is still evidence of this in the literature (Missett, 2013; Verhaeghen et al., 2014). In addition to mood disorders, research studies point toward the elevated level of schizotypy among
divergent thinkers and creative people, particularly poets, mathematicians, visual artists (Nettle, 2006), and artists and scientists (Rawlings & Locarnini, 2008), and that it runs in families (Carson, 2011). There also appears to be a prevalence of alcoholism among writers (Andreasen, 1987), jazz musicians (Wills, 2003), as well as other substances among sculptors, painters, composers, and authors (Wolf, 2005). Research suggests that milder symptoms for both bipolar and schizophrenia spectrum disorder are more conducive to creativity than severe forms of both disorders (Carson, 2011). Biology is not the only contributing factor to the links between creativity and psychopathology. Goertzel and Goertzel’s (1962) study showed how eminently creative individuals are found to come from unstable homes in which they experienced quite a number of traumatic events such as exposure to early loss of one or both parents (see also Goertzel, Goertzel, Goertzel, & Hansen, 2004). Simonton (2009) pointed out that the unstable home environment may also reflect underlying genetic factors with parents who may have suffered from prominent psychopathology.
VOICE OF SANITY More humanistic perspectives tend to link creativity with greater signs of mental health (Simonton, 2010), which gained even more traction with Csikszentmihalyi’s (1996) concept of flow, or optimum level of functioning, and the rise of positive psychology. Kerr, Gottfried, Chopp, and Cohn (2003) also explored the origins of creative lives, showing that everyday sustained creativity is possible in happy, supportive, and welcoming families. Moreover, outand-out madness is, by its very nature, inherently incompatible with creative genius (Simonton, 2010) and there are creative geniuses who do not show any kind of mental illness during their entire lifetime, especially those in the field of natural sciences (Simonton, 2009). Jamison’s (1993) oft-quoted and arguably landmark study linking mood disorders and artistic talent as seen in her book, Touched With Fire, has received a lot of criticism. Schlesinger (2009) cited methodological issues in Jamison’s work such as subjectivity and experimenter bias, the absence of control group, overreliance on self-report, and idiosyncratic diagnostic criteria, to mention only a few. Schlesinger concluded that there is still no existing large-scale empirical study that can definitively claim with a measure of mathematical power that “any one occupation is more vulnerable to affective disorder than any other—and little hope that there ever will be” (p. 69).
SHARED VULNERABILITY MODEL: LIVING IN THE IN-BETWEEN Carson (2011) identified three shared vulnerability factors that link creative thought processes with psychopathology: 1. reduced latent inhibition, which allows what is often perceived as irrelevant information into conscious awareness. A reduced latent inhibition enhances creativity by opening the mind to unfiltered stimuli, increasing the possibility of synthesizing novel ideas from discarded repository of information. This is also observed among psychosis-prone people and those diagnosed with schizophrenia; 2. novelty seeking, which provides intrinsic motivation to pay greater attention to, and seek out, novel and complex ideas. This is also evident with people suffering from both bipolar and substance abuse disorders; and 3. hyperconnectivity, which is apparent among people with schizophrenia and their first-degree relatives, involves the neural associations of brain areas that are not typically functionally linked together. This unusual pattern of brain connectivity is also demonstrated in the brains of highly creative individuals. This vulnerability, or living in the in-between, is believed to be mitigated by what Simonton (2010) calls strong virtues such as ego strength among the high creatives. Carson (2011) identifies three specific protective factors that mitigate vulnerability: 1. A threshold IQ score of 120 (which may still be dependent on the domain or creative endeavor) is found to be necessary but not sufficient to explain creativity (Simonton, 2004). Carson (2011) noted that high IQ allows a person to manipulate seemingly irrelevant stimuli into meaningful bits rather than being confused or overwhelmed by it. 2. Creative individuals with enhanced working memory are able to process additional stimuli resulting from altered states of consciousness produced by mood disorders, schizotypal symptoms, or reduced latent inhibition. This capacity to hold a world of constructs in one’s mind without being consumed by them tips the balance to creative rather than disorganized thought processes. 3. Cognitive flexibility allows high creatives to switch their focus rapidly from one stimulus to another through
deliberate mental control. It also may be a method through which creative people can interpret psychotic-like experiences as benign, useful, and even potentially productive rather than a sign of madness. Simonton (2010) observed that while high creatives may stray noticeably from normalcy, they are said to stop “just short of the utterly crazy” (p. 229). Simonton’s (2009) hierarchical model postulated a distinct difference across domains is shown with geniuses in the natural sciences who are found to be more psychologically stable as compared to those in the social sciences; those in the social sciences more so than those in the humanities; and those in the humanities more so than those in the arts. In Simonton’s (2014) most recent historiometric study of 204 historic creators, he noted that scientists exhibit the least psychopathology while the highly eminent thinkers are far more prone to mental problems, and highly eminent composers fall somewhere between. Creative geniuses who attain the highest eminence within their respective domains are also found to be more psychologically vulnerable (Ko & Kim, 2008). Silvia and Kaufman (2010) recommended that researchers fine-tune their operational definitions of mental disorders, specify which domain of creative accomplishment is being investigated, and what levels of creativity are described (little-C vs. Big-C creators1; see Henshon, 2011) before any definitive conclusions can emerge.
CREATIVELY GIFTED YOUTHS Neihart and Olenchak (2002) observed that there has been little research devoted to studying the creatively gifted youth. Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, and Whalen’s (1996) landmark longitudinal study remains the go-to reference in understanding what drives some teenagers to remain, while others eventually become disengaged, in their art forms. In Kerr and McKay’s (2013) study, they administered the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and Tellegen Absorption Scale to creative adolescents, indicating that such profiling can be used to identify creative adolescents for future career development programs. Lubinski, Benbow, and Kell (2014) have also tracked 1,650 mathematically precocious youth who were in the top 1% in the 1970s. Lubinski et al.’s study indicated that mathematical precocity predicts later creative contributions and leadership in critical occupational roles. Cross-cultural studies on the development of artistic talent (Rostan, Pariser, & Gruber, 2002) and non-Western studies that look into factors contributing to talented performance from a Chinese (Wu, 2005), and Singaporean perspective (Garces-Bacsal, 2013) have been conducted, as well as experiences of flow among artistically talented teenagers enrolled in the Singapore School of the Arts (Garces-Bacsal, Tan, & Cohen, 2011). However, there is a paucity of research studies that explore the connection between arts and psychological vulnerabilities in adolescence apart from Young, Winner, and Cordes’s (2013) study that demonstrates a heightened incidence of depressive symptoms among a sample of 2,482 15- to 16-year old adolescents involved in the arts. This research indicates that teens involved in afterschool arts had higher depressive symptom scores. The scores are found to be mitigated by working memory capacity, which is indicated by Carson (2011) to be a protective factor among high creatives. It is worth noting that creativity is said to peak in adolescence (with the exception of child prodigies), and is also the same period when bipolar disorder and psychosis become evident. The rates of bipolar diagnoses were also found to increase exponentially between 1996 and 2004: 296.4% among adolescents and 438.6% among children (Blader & Carlson, 2007).
IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCHERS AND EDUCATORS For gifted education practitioners, Andreasen (2014) claimed that the arts and the sciences are often perceived as separate tracks, and students are encouraged to specialize in just one and not the other: “If we wish to nurture creative students, this may be a serious error” (p. 75) especially since many creative people have multiple talents in various domains. The importance of mentorship programs and the passing on of insider and tacit knowledge by expert creative practitioners have likewise been explored in great depth by Subotnik, Edmiston, Cook, and Ross (2010). Educators may also wish to deemphasize the mad genius hypothesis when discussing eminent individuals among impressionable young artists. There is a need to provide a more balanced (although predictably more boring and possibly less romantic) approach by giving greater attention to high creatives who manage to be both prolific and stable (Schlesinger, 2004). Creative adolescents who are still in the process of becoming might wrongly perceive
that they need to display a certain temperament and may even invite the label of madness in order for them to be legitimately considered as artists (Becker, 2000–2001).
LIMITATIONS OF RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY Instead of adopting a linear approach to looking at creativity and madness, researchers could take a more incisive look at nonlinear dynamic models (Schuldberg, 2000–2001) that reflect the complexity of the curvilinear relationship between the cognitive approaches and affective states that produce creative outcomes. This inverted Ucurve has implications when it comes to treatment, as it may be helpful to identify a creative individual’s optimum level of functioning and maintain it at that level, and focus more on aspects of creative personality traits that have a positive linear association with both mental health and creativity (Simonton, 2010). A research study that investigates the links between psychopathology, adversity, and creativity among eminent African Americans recently has been published (Damian & Simonton, 2014). However, there still is a gap in knowledge when it comes to other minority groups in the U.S. as well as non-Western cultures that may have a different valuing of creativity and whose definitions of madness are tied to their unique sociocultural, historically rich and tumultuous, and in most cases, colonized origins. A combination of quantitative and qualitative studies is recommended to further investigate whether Simonton’s hierarchical model of creativity across domains is also evident with eminent creators from non-Western cultures and would be of value to both researchers and practitioners.
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1 Simonton defines Big-C creativity as groundbreaking contributions to a particular domain of achievement as evidenced by actual accomplishments. Little-C creativity, on the other hand, could be assessed via psychometric measures and refers to everyday problem-solving techniques and capacity to be flexible in the face of change.
GIFTED CHILDREN AND BULLYING JEAN SUNDE PETERSON
INTRODUCTION Research of bullying involving gifted youth has been slow to develop and remains extremely limited, in spite of attention in nonempirical articles (e.g., Siegle, 2010). However, bullying research in other fields (e.g., psychology, sociology, pediatric health, education, criminal justice) can guide gifted education researchers. International attention to bullying in general was already well-established (see meta-analytic review, Hawker & Boulton, 2000) when U.S. researchers began to focus on it in the early 1990s. Subsequently, they contributed to a rapidly growing bullying literature during the first decade of the 2000s. They examined aggression (e.g., Barry et al., 2007), bullyvictims (Brockenbrough, Cornell, & Loper, 2002); victims’ perceptions (Hunter & Boyle, 2002); teacher attitudes (Bauman & Del Rio, 2006); and cyberbullying (Smith et al., 2008), for example. Swearer, Espelage, and Vaillancourt (2010) noted a shift of focus from prevalence, correlates, and consequences to predictors, policies, programs, and school personnel. Recent studies have focused on widely varying aspects: effects of cyberbullying (Bonanno & Hymel, 2013); coping (Tenenbaum, Varjas, Meyers, & Parris, 2011); race, ethnicity, and ethnic density (Wang, 2014); gender and type of bullying (Fox, Jones, Stiff, & Sayers, 2014); resilience (Bowes, Maughan, & Caspi, 2010); and parents’ beliefs about bullying (Troop-Gordon & Gerardy, 2012). Possible contributing factors have had attention as well, such as low empathy (Joliffe & Farrington, 2011), childhood adversity (Vaughn et al., 2011), and callousunemotional traits (Viding, Simmonds, Petrides, & Frederickson, 2009). Increasingly, school factors have been studied: teacher-student relationships (Richard, Schneider, & Mallet, 2012), sense of safety (Lakes, 2014), social networks (Wölfer & Scheithauer, 2014), and impact on the mental health of bullies, victims, and bully-victims (students who are both bully and victim; e.g., Rothon, Head, Klineberg, & Stansfeld, 2011), and bystanders (e.g., Salmivalli, Voeten, & Poskiparta, 2011).
MAJOR FINDINGS Only one bullying study has focused solely on gifted students, yielding both quantitative and qualitative findings. A few other studies have been comparative.
ONE STUDY OF GIFTED STUDENTS Peterson and Ray’s (2006a, 2006b) national study, which focused on prevalence and effects during kindergarten through grade 8, was the first bullying study to examine a gifted population: gifted youth as targets, gifted youth as bullies, and effects on the former. The study involved 432 eighth graders in 16 schools in 11 states, representing four quadrants of the contiguous United States and four population density levels. Among many quantitative findings (Peterson & Ray, 2006b), physical bullying by gifted students declined and verbal and indirect bullying increased over time, and teasing about grades and intelligence peaked in grades 7 and 8. A large number of victims told no one. Male students were significantly more likely than females to be bullied, be a bully, think violent thoughts, or do something violent. No differences were found for population density, geographic region, or race/ethnicity. Regarding prevalence, 67% had experienced one or more of the 13 kinds of bullying listed, and 11% had
experienced repeated bullying, with peak percentages in grade 6 for both. These percentages were similar to findings in some general population studies. Most common were name-calling and teasing related to appearance, the latter having the only statistically significant level of emotional impact. Grade 8 had the highest reported percentage of gifted bullies (16%) and students with violent thoughts (29%) and deeds (11%), after steadily increasing over all years. It should be noted that media attention to female bullying (i.e., exclusion, spreading rumors, withholding friendship; Bauman & Del Rio, 2006) began shortly after data were gathered, and cyberbullying was not yet on the radar. Findings about gender and prevalence might have been different a few years later. The qualitative component of this study (Peterson & Ray, 2006a) involved 57 (55 of them victims) gifted eighth graders who responded to an invitation to be interviewed at seven schools in six of the states involved in the quantitative study. Some assertions about gifted youth and bullying, based on emergent themes in this study, follow here: ■ They try to make sense of bullying and bullies. ■ Coping strategies improve with age. ■ Prevalence of being bullied decreases for boys after grade 6. ■ Intelligence helps some to cope (e.g., strategies, making sense). ■ They attribute bullying to external factors (e.g., bullies’ deficits; victims not being known), but assume responsibility for resolution themselves. ■ Being bullied contributes to self-doubt. ■ When a victim takes action, has support, makes changes, or resolves the bullying, less loss of self-esteem occurs, and a process of repair begins. ■ Being bullied can contribute to wanting to avoid “mistakes” and “be better.” ■ Not being known contributes to being bullied. When better acquainted, bullies and the bullied might become friends.
COMPARATIVE STUDIES With few exceptions, comparative studies of prevalence of victimization by bullies have not found differences between gifted and general population students. Social aggression appears to be no less a problem for gifted youth. High achievers. Peters and Bain (2011) studied 90 Advanced Placement (AP) students in two similar high schools, comparing those identified as gifted with those not identified. Two instruments, respectively measuring victimization and social desirability, were used, both weighted toward physical aggression. No significant differences between gifted and nongifted students were found, although the authors noted that both groups had achieved well enough to enter AP courses and may not have been well differentiated. In posthoc analysis, all students reported more verbal than physical aggression at a significant level, but the two groups were not different at any grade level. Based on a combination of the bullying and victimization scores, the groups were also not different in percentage of bully-victims. Although the schools were similar demographically and in course offerings, the mean scores differed significantly. Those findings raise questions about how differences in school culture or climate might affect gifted students. Sociometric variables. A study by Oliveira and Barbosa (2012) involved 339 elementary-age children, including 59 identified as gifted. The focus was on bullying types, bullying involvement, and sociometric variables. No significant differences appeared between gifted and nongifted groups. However, gifted children were more likely to call for help, and students talented in the arts were more likely to be targeted than students with talent in other areas. Teachers’ and peers’ perceptions. In a study of bullying and victimization with 484 fifth graders, 74 of whom were identified as academically gifted and 41 as having mild disabilities, Estell et al. (2009) examined perceptions based on social identities. They found relationships among exceptionality, bullying, and popularity. Teachers and peers were more likely to view those with disabilities, and least likely to perceive gifted students, as bullies and victims. Being associated with peers seen as popular or aggressive was also related to being perceived as a bully. Social isolates were most vulnerable to bullying, and students with associates perceived to be popular were least. Cyberbullying. In Mitchell’s (2011) dissertation study of 847 middle school students regarding involvement in cyberbullying, higher achievers did not differ from lower achievers in understanding the risks of Internet use. Students identified as gifted were also involved in cyberbullying as bully, target, or both at a rate similar to those not identified. A history of involvement as bully or target in traditional bullying predicted the same roles in cyberbullying.
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Three studies of bullying among gifted youth have had culturally diverse participants. In contrast to Peterson and Ray’s (2006b) 68% and Estell et al.’s (2009) 55% Caucasian samples, Peters and Bain’s (2011) was 91% Caucasian. However, race/ethnicity was specifically examined only by Peterson and Ray, who found no pertinent differences. Estell et al. did note that their findings about social outcomes might reflect family and socioeconomic status, which has had implications for special education and gifted education services in the past. Studies conducted in other countries have typically not focused on cultural differences, but Peterson and Ray noted general cross-national similarity of prevalence. Disability should be included when considering cultural diversity and bullying here, and not just because of federal civil rights responsibilities of schools. Rose, Forber-Pratt, Espelage, and Aragon (2013), summarizing literature linking disabilities and bullying, speculated that bullying may be a reaction to negative psychosocial effects of prolonged social rejection and victimization due to characteristics related to disability, such as social and communication deficits. Disabilities have been linked with low self-esteem, lack of social acceptance, anger, and depression, and high-incidence disabilities (learning, emotional, behavioral, health, speech and language) have been associated with lower self-esteem than more significant disabilities have. Pertinent here, twice-exceptional gifted youth (i.e., gifted and disability; see Kalbfleisch, 2014) have not been studied in regard to social aggression.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY LIMITATIONS The dearth of studies, including cross-cultural studies, of gifted youth and bullying has already been discussed. In addition, in the general bullying literature, problems with research methods have sometimes contributed to another limitation: questionable conclusions. Scholars (e.g., Cornell & Mehta, 2011) have noted reliance on selfreporting without corroboration. Peterson and Ray (2006b) sought to rectify problems observed in the literature: the use of only one item to inquire about being a bully or target; instruments skewed toward physical bullying; and inconsistencies or absence of time span (e.g., past month, past year) or definition. It should be noted that research definitions (e.g., Craig & Pepler, 2003) typically refer to deliberate, hostile, aggressive communication, intended to provoke distress and fear; intimidation; threat; a power imbalance; and repetition, reflecting how Olweus (e.g., 1973, 1993) conceptualized bullying in his pioneering work.
FUTURE PRIORITIES According to the limited research available, gifted youth do not experience less bullying than others their age, a reality that argues for no less attention to prevention and intervention for gifted students. Future researchers might further clarify how and where gifted young people are involved in bullying, how they experience it, and what contributes to it. The recent research directions mentioned in the Introduction, and others as well, could now be focused on giftedness: relevance of social, educational, and disability status; impact of a single incident; mental health aspects; female types of bullying; the subjective experience of cyberbullying; if and how physical, nonphysical, direct, and indirect bullying are differentially experienced; proactive versus reactive motivations to bully; roles and experiences of bystanders; teacher responses; power imbalance; cognitive processes; reporting; school and classroom climate, including when gifted students are in separate classrooms; peer, teacher, support staff, and family perceptions and influences; cross-cultural comparisons; and outcomes of prevention and intervention strategies, for example. In addition, other methods would enhance the giftedness literature. Qualitative studies are needed to explore the subjective experience of various roles, posttraumatic stress, and violent thoughts. Longitudinal research might explore how bullying develops; how experiences affect emotional, identity, relational, academic, and career development; and if bullying roles during the K–12 years are sustained into adulthood. The general lack of research attention to gifted bullies, targets, and bystanders and their social contexts offers many possible entry points.
IMPLICATIONS Findings here have practical implications for invested adults. The finding that many gifted victims did not tell an adult (Peterson & Ray, 2006b) argues that parents should ask gifted children about what happens in hallways, lunchroom, restrooms, buses and boarding areas, and classrooms, where bullying may not be noticed by adults. Parents and educators might also consider that gifted children might be bullies or bully-victims, both of these being at particular risk for poor mental health. Finally, parents might reflect on their own beliefs about bullying, since these potentially affect their children’s attitudes and behavior related to social aggression (Troop-Gordon & Gerardy, 2012). Optimally, parents and school personnel work together to establish policies and respond to concerns. Findings resulting from the trend toward research of group dynamics, school climate, teacher attitudes and responses, contributors to aggression, and bystander roles and experiences might help adult school personnel consider social dynamics in all school areas as they broaden their understanding of bullying. These adults should also consider the possibility that cyberbullying off campus may affect mental health, in-school behavior, attendance, and ability to concentrate. Because victims perceived, in Peterson and Ray’s (2006a) study, that not being known by peers left them vulnerable, teachers and counselors might strategically employ a small-group approach to foster connections and mutual support among students (Peterson, 2008). In general, prevention and intervention should be systemic and context-specific, focus on helping bullies and bully-victims manage anger and develop empathy, help victims cope effectively, and help them both with social skills.
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PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF TALENT DEVELOPMENT INTRODUCTION There has been a growing convergence between the fields of talent development and gifted education in recent years. Whether you agree with the authors of the opening chapter that talent development should be the aim of gifted education or not, the chapters in this section demonstrate that there is much we can learn from the research on talent development to enhance the well-being of gifted children. Psychosocial skills have a huge impact on talent development and there are strong associations between social and emotional variables and desired outcomes in both achievement and well-being. These skills can be taught and systematically strengthened. One of the themes that continues from the preceding sections is the potential value of considering giftedness as domain specific rather than global. As you read, consider what it would mean for teaching, programming, counseling, and research if giftedness was a domain specific concept rather than a global one. Do you agree with the authors of the opening chapter that it would be more useful? One of the benefits of the research on psychosocial variables in talent development is that much of it examines moderators and mediators of the phenomena many of us are interested in: motivation, negative emotion, thoughts about success and failure and future expectations, social support, etc. The chapters in this section offer many ideas for ways we might apply findings from the talent development literature to programming and classroom and parenting strategies that support the social and emotional health of gifted children.
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE OF TALENT DEVELOPMENT RENA F. SUBOTNIK, FRANK C. WORRELL, AND PAULA OLSZEWSKI-KUBILIUS
INTRODUCTION Since their foundation in modern times, gifted education and talent development have undergone numerous reconsiderations of how they are conceptualized. At least five of these conceptions undergird systems and services commonly offered around the world, some more widely than others. The first approach views giftedness as an innate quality of an individual that can be revealed through precocious behavior and cognitive assessments like IQ tests (e.g., Robinson, Zigler, & Gallagher, 2000). A second conception of giftedness builds on the first and is rooted in a clinical view of high IQ individuals as emotionally vulnerable and possessing heightened sensitivity (e.g., Delisle & Galbraith, 2002; Webb, 1993). Renzulli (1978) ushered in the primacy of a third approach that acknowledges factors beyond intellectual prowess such as task persistence, creativity, and motivation. This perspective not only provides a mechanism for identifying individuals, but also a goal for gifted young people to reach as creative producers. Outside the academic world, including sport and the performing arts, giftedness has been studied with regard to the process of developing outstanding performance. The arena in which this fourth approach takes place is mainly outside of school and extends into early adulthood (e.g., Bloom, 1985; Gulbin, Oldenziel, Weissensteiner, & Gagné, 2010; Jarvin & Subotnik, 2010; Martindale, Collins, & Abraham, 2007; Van Yperin, 2009; Wylleman & Reints, 2010). Finally, in a complete shift away from a focus on identification, a more recent perspective takes the position that ability plays no significant role at all, and that accomplishment levels can be explained by luck (being born at the right time and place) or diligent disciplined practice (e.g., Colvin, 2008; Coyle, 2009; Ericsson, Prietula, & Cokely, 2007; Mighton, 2003; Shenk, 2010). The material in this chapter results from a comprehensive review of the scientific literature in psychology (Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Worrell, 2011) that draws from these five views of giftedness and talent development as well as research on expertise, high performance, creativity, motivation, and human development. The outcome of the Subotnik et al. analysis is a framework that includes the following central points: (a) giftedness is not static but malleable and needs to be developed; (b) it is more useful to consider giftedness as domain specific rather than global; (c) psychosocial skills play an outsize role in optimal development; and (d) the desired outcome of gifted education is to provide the skills, knowledge, and opportunities needed for talent to be developed to optimal levels of performance or creative productivity at each phase, which includes eminence for those individuals who wish to and are able to pursue that goal.
MAJOR FINDINGS Giftedness is not static, but malleable, and needs to be developed. According to Tannenbaum (1983), fulfillment of potential requires both general ability and domain-specific ability, although it is not entirely clear how much of each is needed for high performance in various domains. He goes on to argue that these forms of ability are necessary but not sufficient to attaining high performance or creative productivity, and noncognitive factors, opportunity, and chance also play important roles. Several other researchers discuss the contributions of ability by stressing its malleability and the need for ability to be developed (e.g., Dweck, 2012; Sternberg, 1998). Said in another way, ability is important at critical junctures in a talent development trajectory, because it facilitates the ease
with which opportunity, chance, and noncognitive processes are incorporated and capitalized upon over time. Although giftedness and talent are considered synonyms in much of our literature, getting labeled as gifted in many parts of the world may lead to special programming, particularly at the elementary level. In adolescence, demonstrated achievement in domains is far more likely to be the selection factor for both in and out of school programming than identification as gifted based on a test of general ability (Freeman, Raffan, & Warwick, 2010). In fact, the gifted label does not (a) facilitate admission into degree programs (undergraduate, graduate, professional, performance), (b) lead to being chosen in the draft for a professional sports team or obtaining a tenure track appointment at an academic institution, or (c) help in winning a gold medal in the Olympics or Nobel or Pulitzer prizes. (Worrell, Olszewski-Kublius, & Subotnik, 2012, p. 225) Ability and performance become increasingly intertwined over the talent development trajectory, such that ability refers less and less to tested potential and more and more to outstanding accomplishment. Giftedness is a more useful concept when viewed as domain specific. Once again, both general and domainspecific abilities play a role in outstanding achievement (Kuncel, Hezlett, & Ones, 2001), although the importance of general ability probably varies by domain and diminishes with development (Simonton & Song, 2009; Sternberg, 1998; Tannenbaum, 1983). For example, Hulslander, Olson, Willcutt, and Wadsworth (2010) argued that reading comprehension in adolescence may be better predicted by g, whereas findings from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (e.g., Lubinski, Benbow, & Harrison, 2014; Wai, Lubinski, Benbow, & Steiger, 2010) indicated that specific mathematics and verbal abilities are valuable for predicting important educational and occupational outcomes. The nature of domain-specific talents also differs by discipline. Krutetskii (1976) identified mathematical cast of mind as a necessary ability for success in the quantitative domain, whereas choreographer Eliot Feld sought physical memory, flexibility, and body proportion when auditioning for his Ballet Tech high school, the training program for his nationally renowned dance company (Subotnik, 2002). Overall, research supports the view that deliberate practice plays a role in domain-specific performance differences, reducing differences between talented individuals and those who are not. However, recent work argues that abilities, especially domain-specific abilities, enhance the effects of practice and effort such that those with higher levels of ability gain more and make more rapid progress from guided practice and instruction (Macnamara, Hambrick, & Oswald, 2014; Mosing, Madison, Pederson, Kuja-Haikola, & Ullen, 2014). Psychosocial skills play a crucial role in optimal development. Insights into the role of psychosocial or mental skills in talent development have emerged from the high performance literature, particularly in sport and the performing arts (Burton & Raedeke, 2008; Hanton, Thomas, & Mellalieu, 2009; Kornspan, 2009; Lehman, Sloboda, & Woody, 2007; MacNamara & Collins, 2009; Williams & Krane, 2005). Sport and performance psychologists help their clients prepare for competition, auditions, or artistic presentations, as well as maintain enthusiasm and effort in light of disappointment and setbacks. Academically talented students endure stress and performance anxiety at different points in their school careers as well (Preuss & Dubow, 2004; Shaunessy & Suldo, 2010; Suldo, Shaunessy, Michalowski, & Shaffer, 2008), and there is increasing recognition that they, like their talented arts and sport peers, benefit from psychosocial coaching (Neihart, 2008; Subotnik et al., 2011). Psychosocial skills associated with great performance and creativity include, among others strategic risk taking, dealing constructively with setbacks in confidence, and persistence through both bad and good times. These skills— most particularly persistence through bad and good times—promote practice and effort needed to transition from abilities to competencies, competencies to expertise, and beyond expertise to outstanding performance (Ericsson et al., 2007; Macnamara et al., 2014; Subotnik & Jarvin, 2005; Subotnik et al., 2011). For example, self-confidence through bad and good times remains consistently important throughout the trajectory of talent development. However, self-confidence can take a beating upon entry into a more competitive environment. When this happens, the task at hand is not only to bolster one’s own self-confidence, but also at the most advanced stages of talent development, to project self-confidence under the difficult situations, even if it is not felt. See Chapter 13. Talent development requires the provision of opportunities to gain knowledge and psychosocial skills. Gifted children and youth vary in the aspirations they hold for using their talent. Also, aspirations may change over time due to unforeseen circumstances or newly discovered interests and abilities. No matter the aspiration or the developmental level, the point of a gifted program is to meet current classroom needs, as well as to help young people develop their potential as fully as possible in relation to their talent (Subotnik & Rickoff, 2010). This means that gifted programming needs to be deliberate in identifying domain-specific abilities and talents at appropriate times and in providing domain-specific talent development programs that simultaneously cultivate and enhance
psychosocial skills critical to success in chosen fields. Programming should be guided by the endpoint, which is preparing individuals for creative productive careers. Understanding trajectories that lead to eminent levels of creativity or performance in different domains allows researchers to inform practice on expertise and motivation needed to achieve at the pinnacle of one’s field (Ziegler, Stoeger, & Vialle, 2012). Just because eminence is rare does not make it a goal that we should write off as unattainable without investigation. How often have we lamented as a field … about the lack of resources and appropriate educational programs and opportunities for the youth that all of us are trying to serve? Using eminence in the later stages of talent development implies holding programs accountable for offering guidance on how to be successful in a domain, much like most graduate schools are expected to prepare a certain number of scholars who will be among the ranks of the most cited and influential, and conservatories are expected to prepare a number of recording artists who can earn a living making beautiful music. (Worrell et al., 2012, pp. 228–229)
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Chua (2014) investigated the efficacy of basic tenets of the Subotnik et al. (2011) mega model in a qualitative study of the talent development paths of Finnish and Singaporean adult dancers. She found support for the role of domain-specific abilities, high levels of motivation and psychosocial skills, as well as specialized talent development opportunities, mentors and expert teachers, and even chance events. The disproportionately high numbers of African Americans performing at eminent levels in the National Football League and the National Basketball Association also provide support for the model (Worrell et al., 2012). A talent development approach offers our field potentially greater success in achieving equity than other conceptions. First, domain-specific identification and programs are far more likely to capture a wider array of potentially talented individuals than programs that expect top performance across the board. Incorporated into the model is opportunity of domain-based instruction and intervention that takes place both inside and outside of school, and addresses cognitive and psychosocial skills and knowledge. No school system, other than the most specialized ones such as can be found in full-time arts or science schools, is likely to offer a sufficiently comprehensive and challenging curriculum for talented individuals in those domains. Further, the academic domains have been negligent in providing the kind of coaching in mental skills that would assist students with overcoming setbacks, negative stereotypes, and stigma (Ogbu, 2003). These support structures are likely to keep talented children and youth from outside the mainstream engaged and successful. If we can get minority students to believe that their input in effort and education would pay off in production [scholarly] domains in the same way that many believe that inputs in effort and practice pays off in performance domains, we will have made a highly significant contribution to increasing their representation in programs for the gifted and talented, and it will result in eminent African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans in numbers that are at least parallel to their Asian American and European American peers. (Worrell et al., 2012, p. 229)
LIMITATIONS OF CURRENT RESEARCH AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE STUDY The research that we present on talent development is limited in a number of ways. First, there are several domains for which we know little about identifying talent. Second, outside of athletics and music, there is limited knowledge about the benchmarks of psychosocial skills development. Finally, scarce empirical evidence exists on the optimal times for specialization within domains and for interdisciplinary instruction. We elaborate here proposals for future research to address these gaps and inform practice. Examine basic factors associated with domain-specific abilities. Research on prodigies and performance domains offers insights into the “drop dead” abilities necessary for establishing a successful trajectory of talent development. Most domain-specific abilities have not been explored in that way, and as a result, many children and adolescents are misidentified, or not identified at all. Having some concrete sense of what such abilities are can also
enhance the validity of identification procedures. In other words, in many domains, our field could move away from relying on abstract tests to demonstrating behavior in response to instruction designed to reveal basic abilities. Identify benchmarks in content and psychosocial skills. We need more attention paid to identifying the benchmark content and psychosocial skills required at each stage of the talent development process for each domain. If you look at the view book for entry into the Juilliard Pre-College Program (http://www.juilliard.edu/youth-adultprograms/pre-college-division/admissions/audition-requirements), you will find a listing of what is considered basic content knowledge and skill for entering conservatory in each instrument group. Every music teacher in the nation who prepares advanced players is familiar with these expectations. Our field would benefit from similar benchmarks for content and skill in academic domains as well. Identify the optimal timing for narrowing and expanding enrichment opportunities. The sport psychology literature identifies differences between early and late specialization sports. The former, including gymnastics and figure skating, require narrow focus on specific training from an earlier point of talent development. Other athletic activities begin with general conditioning. Although we know that young children can exhibit extraordinary prowess in languages and in mathematics, we have not defined developmental windows as to when children should specialize in regard to developing this talent. Concurrently, at a later stage in talent development, when original contributions and creativity distinguish the most talented from the rest, exposure to other domains can be extremely helpful (e.g., a playwright and history, or an engineer and psychology or visual art). Talent development will benefit from a set of evidence-based guidelines to determine the optimal time for interdisciplinary enrichment, whether it be on an asneeded basis or as an integral part of a domain-specific program.
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PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS IN TALENT DEVELOPMENT MAUREEN NEIHART High achievement takes more than talent and hard work. It requires psychological preparedness, emotional and social competencies, attitudes, and beliefs that drive performance. These are the psychosocial variables associated with talent development. It has been widely acknowledged for many years that these personal variables are essential to transform ability into high performance in any domain (Ericsson, Charness, Feltovich, & Hoffman, 2006; Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Worrell, 2011). Cox (1926), for example, concluded that the highest levels of achievement are largely the result of nonintellectual factors, especially perseverance. The empirical research on these variables and their impact on performance, and the effective strategies to strengthen them form vast literatures, many of which are domain-specific. Certain variables, like motivation and environmental factors, have such large literatures of their own that they have their own chapter in this text. It is only possible here to highlight a few of the major findings and their broad implications for gifted education and talent development.
MAJOR RESEARCH FINDINGS There are three broad findings from the vast literatures on psychosocial variables in talent development. First, psychosocial variables are essential for talent development. No one reaches the highest levels of achievement without them. Second, they can be systematically strengthened through a variety of targeted interventions, supports, and experiences. Third, their relative importance to talent development appears to vary by stage and domain of talent. Some seem to be essential across all domains (e.g., motivation, social support), while others may be more important to some domains than to others (e.g., visualization) or at certain stages of talent development more than others (e.g., emotion). Although a number of talent development models acknowledge the critical role of psychosocial variables and identify a few of them (Gagné, 2004; Moon, 2003; Renzulli, 1976; Subotnik, Edmiston, Cook, & Ross, 2010; Subotnik & Jarvin, 2005), no model as yet details most of these variables, nor describes the strategies that can be used to develop them (Luzzo & Gobet, 2011). A review of the empirical literature across domains suggests there are at least eight psychosocial variables strongly associated with talent development. These include motivation, selfbeliefs or mindsets, goal setting, emotion, social support, rest and recovery routines, visualization, and environmental factors. The practice literature and some limited empirical findings suggest that three additional variables seem to be important but have not been well researched. These include energy exchange or mood regulation (Pargman, 2006; Ross, 2003; Tamir, 2005), strategic risk taking (Rizza & Reis, 2001), and the resolution of affiliation versus achievement needs (Horvat & Lewis, 2003; Kuriloff & Reichert, 2003). The relationship among these variables and achievement is complex. Some variables seem to be important because they influence cognitive processes like concentration, problem solving, or attention (e.g., emotion), while others seem to contribute to achievement by enhancing effort or enabling persistence (e.g., goal setting). Researchers are beginning to attempt to tease out the mediating roles these variables play in achievement (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007). However, it can be difficult to distinguish variables from strategies. Some variables, like goal orientation and certain mindsets, are characteristics strongly associated with high achievement, but they are also used as strategies to develop talent (Blackwell et al., 2007). The literatures on some of these variables are so large that to highlight them all here is impossible. What follows is a brief summary of the major findings for selected
MOTIVATION Motivation is viewed as the most important factor for performance in a domain. Becoming an expert in a domain requires many years of practice and training; therefore, the ability to persist is critical. Motivation is not a stable trait. It is domain-specific and changes with different contexts and conditions. This is good news, for it means that motivation can be influenced. There is robust evidence that motivation can be significantly enhanced with cognitive interventions in a variety of settings across domains (Miller et al., 2012). The empirical literature on motivation is enormous and is detailed in Chapter 14.
EMOTION The role of emotions in achievement has been widely studied across talent domains and contexts. In their 5-year study of talented teenagers, Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, and Whalen (1993) observed that successful, talented teenagers had learned to tolerate negative mood states and that emotion was one of the strongest predictors of talent development. Emotions influence engagement, motivation, cognitive resources, attention, and use of strategies (Luzzo & Gobet, 2011). Some emotions prompt cognitive activity while others prompt both cognition and behavior. Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention, thinking, and behavior, while negative emotions narrow them (Frederickson & Branigan, 2005). Top performers seem to know their personal profile of conditions for optimal performance and have strategies for entering and exiting this zone (Jokela & Hanin, 1999). Hope, hopelessness, joy, anger, shame, anxiety, and pride are among the emotions examined, but anxiety is the feeling investigated most often (James, Brodersen, & Eisenberg, 2004; Jokela & Hanin, 1999; Pekrun, Elliot, & Maier, 2009; Tugade & Frederickson, 2004). Anxiety and stress and their impact on performance have been widely investigated across domains and across cultures. There is a curvilinear relationship between anxiety and performance. Both too little and too much anxiety can interfere with performance and individuals vary considerably in how they respond to anxiety. When anxiety levels are above or below an optimal threshold, performance deteriorates. Therefore, talent development involves identifying this threshold and mastering cognitive and behavioral strategies for keeping anxiety within this optimal zone (Jokela & Hanin, 1999).
MINDSETS Mindsets, or self-beliefs, refer to patterns of thoughts about success and failure, effort, and future expectations. They mediate thoughts and behaviors that have a direct impact on effort (Liem, Lau, & Nie, 2008; Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2002). It is this change in effort that is directly linked to achievement. The large literature on the role of mindsets in achievement is summarized in Chapter 21.
SOCIAL SUPPORT Talent development is not a private enterprise. It is social. The role of social supports seems to change with the stages of talent development. For example, families play an important role in determining whether talent is developed or not (Bloom, 1985). Family support seems to be critical in the early stages when a child is introduced to the domain, but in later stages, family support matters less and mentors or expert teachers/trainers become critical (Subotnik et al., 2010). Talent development is optimized when these various levels of social support are aligned (Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Arnold, 2003). The relations among family, schooling, society, and talent development are complex and are addressed further in the chapter on parenting (see Chapter 16).
GOAL SETTING To set a goal is to specify an intended action. Goal type and goal orientation are both strongly related to high performance. Goals affect performance in three ways. They focus attention, influence persistence, and energize people. More difficult goals tend to increase persistence, provided that individuals have some control over the amount of time they have available to work toward the goal (Locke & Latham, 2002; Midgley, Kaplan, & Middleton, 2001). High goals tend to lead to higher performance than low goals (Grant & Dweck, 2003). Goals are
most effective when they are challenging but attainable. However, goals that are not accepted by the individual are not likely to influence performance positively and may influence it negatively (Liem et al., 2008). People need frequent feedback regarding their performance toward specific goals in order to adjust their effort or strategy. Without feedback, they do not know that they need to adjust their strategy. Therefore, frequency and specificity of feedback are also critical (Kamins & Dweck, 1999). There is robust evidence that children manifest optimal motivation for learning when their learning contexts stress mastery and progress goals over performance goals. When performance goals are emphasized, positive achievement behaviors significantly decline (Church, Elliot, & Gable, 2000; Liem et al., 2008; Meece, Anderman, & Anderman, 2006; Rawsthorne & Elliott, 1999). High performers set more specific and more difficult goals then lower performers. Novices often fail to set any goals for themselves at all (Kitsantas & Zimmerman, 2002; Rizza & Reis, 2001).
REST AND RECOVERY ROUTINES The impact of rest and recovery routines on performance has been investigated specifically in relation to cognitive performance and achievement outcomes in academics, sport, and work. Much of the empirical literature focuses on the role of sleep in performance. Sleep duration plays an important role in regulating emotional and cognitive functioning. Sleep manipulation studies observe that shorter sleep durations are associated with an increased level of negative emotions and cognitive impairment. Sleep improves memory, judgment, concentration, mood, reaction time speed, problem solving, and learning. Even an hour of sleep deprivation results in a significant decline in cognitive performance. Sleep-deprived students do not remember new skills they have learned as well as students who do get enough sleep. Sleep’s benefit for procedural memory (e.g., knowing how to do something) is much stronger than for declarative memory (e.g., knowing factual information; Rogers, Dorian, & Dinges, 2003; Stickgold, Hobson, Fosse, & Fosse, 2001).
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Psychosocial variables in talent development have been investigated empirically across many cultural groups and contexts (Chua, 2014; Garces-Bacsal, 2013; Liem et al., 2008; Rattan, Savani, Naidu, & Dweck, 2012; Vitasari, Wahab, Othman, Herawan, & Sinnadurai, 2010). Overall, results tend to be consistent. However, there is emerging evidence of an important distinction regarding emotion and cognition between independent and interdependent (i.e., collectivist) cultures. This difference is attributed to distinctions in self-constructions (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). Because the self shapes thinking, feeling, and behavior, differences in self-constructions will result in observable differences in the mechanisms underlying emotion and metacognition. Recent studies are exploring these effects. For instance, Tsai and her colleagues (Tsai, 2007; Tsai, Knutson, & Fung, 2006) observed significant differences in the ideal affect desired by American and East Asian adults. Americans desire high arousal affect like excitement and joy, while East Asians prefer low arousal affect like serenity or calm. Further, an investigation by Peters and Williams (2006) into the relationship between self-talk, performance, and persistence found that negative self-talk related to better performance for East Asians but to worse performance for Americans. There is not yet sufficient research to draw firm conclusions for talent development, but the growing body of evidence does suggest that we would be wise to use caution before categorically applying findings from studies in independent cultures to interdependent cultures.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY A major limitation of the research on psychosocial factors is that most of it is correlational. There are some quasi-experimental studies, but true experimental studies are rare. Hence, it is often not clear whether the association between variable and outcome is causal or consequential. More experimental studies are needed in which interventions aimed to strengthen selected psychosocial variables are measured. Also needed is intervention research, especially in naturalistic settings such as classrooms and studios. For example, studies that compare outcomes for students who participate in interventions designed to improve rest and sleep routines, or to manage performance-related anxiety with those who do not, would be useful. Outcome measures should include specific
performance variables as well as psychosocial variables such as stress-related anxiety, confidence, motivation, other emotions, and optimism. Multiple baseline, single-subject designs might be especially useful when it is difficult to find groups of students who are similar enough for group comparisons. Single-subject design is a valid experimental methodology for identifying causal relationships that has been underutilized (Maggin, Briesch, & Chafouleas, 2012). Finally, prospective, longitudinal studies that investigate the role of psychosocial factors impacting talent development in both high-ability and average-ability students are needed. Such studies would help us to understand the impact of these factors in the developmental trajectories from adolescent high achievement to elite performance in adulthood.
IMPLICATIONS The research has many implications for talent development. Four are highlighted here. Perhaps the most obvious is that talent development efforts should include systematic and targeted intervention to develop and strengthen the psychosocial factors associated with optimal performance (Calderon & Subotnik, 2007). For example, learning goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, and aligned with the individual’s personal interests. Also, specific feedback on progress toward goals should be given frequently and focus on effort and strategy rather than on grades or ability. In addition, because anxiety often interferes with performance, teaching simple strategies for managing disruptive anxiety should be a priority, especially during the early stages of talent development. Perhaps then many gifted children who drop out of the talent development process when the pressures mount would persevere and continue to find joy in their accomplishments. Further, individuals who are making the transition from deep engagement to a commitment to work toward the highest possible levels of performance need to establish sleep and rest and recovery routines to ensure that they can make the most of their abilities. Finally, talent development is a social process, so efforts should be made to put in place environmental factors known to maximize talent, especially opportunities to work with others with similar interests, abilities, and drive (see Chapter 15 on optimal environments).
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MOTIVATION IN TALENT DEVELOPMENT OF HIGHABILITY STUDENTS RESEARCH TRENDS, PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS, AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS GREGORY ARIEF D. LIEM AND CHUN SER CHUA
INTRODUCTION The role of motivation in talent development has been of great interest across all educational fields. Literature on motivation in high-ability learners, including two periodical special issues on the topic (Rubenstein & Siegle, 2012; Tirri, 2010), aims to inform parents, teachers, and educational policy makers of ways to better motivate these learners to reach their potential (Clinkenbeard, 2014). This chapter synthesizes recent research work on the motivation of high-ability students including gifted learners and addresses the following questions: (a) What are the main motivational factors in current research with high-ability students? (b) What is the role of motivation in predicting engagement and performance of these students? (c) Are there differences in the profiles of motivation between high-ability students and their average-ability peers? and (d) Are high-ability students from different cultures motivated similarly?
THE ROLE OF MOTIVATION IN TALENT DEVELOPMENT: MAJOR FINDINGS The importance of motivation in realizing one’s potential has a central place in numerous talent development models (see Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Worrell, 2011, for a recent review). Gagné’s (2010) Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent, for example, views motivation as one of the key intrapersonal catalysts for the transformation of gifts (outstanding inborn aptitudes) into talents (systematically developed capacities). Gottfried and Gottfried (2004) even coined the term gifted motivation to describe the possession of extremely strong motivation as a form of giftedness. Further, a lack of motivation has been identified as a major factor in gifted underachievement (McCoach & Siegle, 2014; Snyder & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2013). These perspectives highlight the fundamental role that motivation plays in talent development. Motivation is a process of initiating and sustaining effort toward a goal (Schunk, Meece, & Pintrich, 2014). Bandura’s (2001) social cognitive theory has been the primary perspective guiding motivation research with highability learners in recent years (Clinkenbeard, 2014; Dai, Moon, & Feldhusen, 1998; see also Wentzel and Wigfield, 2009, for an overview of various models of school motivation). His theory suggests that learners’ beliefs about their abilities, tasks, and contexts are the key motivational factors that determine the amount, quality, and outcomes of their engagement. The theory states that learners’ beliefs are shaped socially and contextually and can be altered through interventions. Thus, it underscores the roles of parents, teachers, peers, educational contexts, and the society at large in the motivation of learners. The synthesis of research findings in this chapter is organized according to various major motivation models under the umbrella of the social cognitive perspective. These models include intrinsic-extrinsic/self-determination, perceived competence, expectancy-value, achievement goal, and implicit
belief (mindset) perspectives of motivation.
INTRINSIC-EXTRINSIC AND SELF-DETERMINED MOTIVATION Intrinsically motivated learners engage in a task because they find the task interesting and enjoyable to do, whereas extrinsically motivated learners engage in an activity in order to attain outcomes separable from the activity itself (see Lepper & Henderlong, 2000). These external outcomes include earning good grades, pleasing parents and teachers, and other external reasons that view a learning activity as a means toward another end. Although research has shown that gifted learners are more intrinsically motivated than their nongifted peers (Gottfried & Gottfried, 2004; Gottfried, Gottfried, Cook, & Morris, 2005), these learners may adopt both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to drive their pursuit of high-quality performance (Al-Dhamit & Kreishan, 2013; Gagné, 2010; Kover & Worrell, 2010). This suggests that extrinsic motivation is not necessarily bad—especially when adopted alongside intrinsic motivation—and may become an additional source of motivation in optimally realizing one’s potential. The intrinsic motivation of gifted learners contributes independently to predicting their actual accomplishments beyond the effect of intelligence (Gottfried & Gottfried, 2004; Hoekman, McCormick, & Barnatt, 2005). However, in a study with a sample of eighth-grade Canadian girls, Gagné and St. Père (2002) found that intrinsic and extrinsic motivations did not predict achievement beyond cognitive ability, even though student- and parent-reported persistence emerged as significant predictors of achievement. In this study, intrinsic motivation—but not extrinsic motivation—was positively associated with persistence. This suggests that the role of motivation in achievement may be mediated by task engagement. Thus, although facilitating intrinsic motivation is an important way of promoting task engagement, there is a need for parents and teachers to monitor the quality of children’s engagement to ensure that the time and effort the children put into their learning are effective in promoting high-quality of performance. The self-determination theory (SDT) provides a contemporary perspective of the intrinsic-extrinsic classification of motivation. This perspective distinguishes autonomous from controlled motivation, which differ according to the main sources of behaviors (internal or external) and the extent to which a task is consistent with one’s interests, preferences, values, and goals (see Ryan & Deci, 2000, 2009 for a more detailed account of the theory). Research has generally shown the relative benefits of autonomous motivation for engagement, performance, and psychological well-being (Ryan & Deci, 2009). Garn and Jolly’s (2014) analyses of their interviews with gifted students showed two sources of motivation consistent with the two broad types of motivation in SDT: (1) the fun of learning, including meaningfulness and interestingness of the curriculum, as well as positive emotions associated with the task; and (2) rewards and pressures of good grades, including experiences associated with fear of punishment, social comparison, fulfilling the expectation of being labeled gifted, and making parents proud. This qualitative research not only underscores the need for emphasizing learning enjoyment but also the importance of effective ways in which parents and teachers can set optimal performance expectations and communicate these expectations without instilling a fear of failure and a sense of pressure likely to impede children’s talent development.
PERCEIVED COMPETENCE Students’ beliefs about their ability have motivational implications for their learning processes and outcomes. Compared with students with lower confidence, students who have confidence in their ability will set higher goals to achieve, have higher expectations to succeed, stay engaged in challenging tasks, and perform better. Literature distinguishes self-concept from self-efficacy (Matthews, 2014). Self-concept is one’s view of overall ability in a domain (e.g., mathematics) whereas self-efficacy is one’s confidence about ability in performing a task. A recent study of gifted middle school students demonstrated that, beyond the direct effect of self-efficacy on achievement, self-efficacy also influences self-regulatory skills, which in turn predict achievement (Richotte, Matthews, & Flowers, 2014). This suggests that self-efficacy holds important implications for both learning processes and outcomes. However, findings about the self-concepts of gifted learners are mixed (Litster & Roberts, 2011). Although studies found that many gifted children have strong self-concepts especially in their area of talent, their physical and social self-concepts are less strong. For example, a recent study showed that social self-concepts of academically gifted learners were lower than their academic self-concepts (Lee, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Thomson, 2012). To facilitate the complete development of gifted learners, it is important for educational practice and policy not to overlook the areas in which gifted learners’ self-concepts may be relatively weaker. Educational contexts play an important role in developing learners’ self-concepts. Although ability grouping is
found to benefit gifted students’ learning and socioemotional development (Neihart, 2007), this educational practice may not be as adaptive to their self-concepts. As predicted by the Big Fish Little Pond Effect model (Marsh & Hau, 2003), gifted learners’ academic self-concepts declined when they were placed together in a special class because they tend to compare themselves to peers who had similar or higher abilities (Preckel, Göetz, & Frenzel, 2010). However, some commentators believe that the more overarching developmental benefits of ability grouping warrant its use (Plucker et al., 2004). Further, recent evidence showed that short-term ability grouping may not be necessarily detrimental to high-achieving students’ academic self-concepts and aspirations (Makel, Lee, OlszewskiKubilius, & Putallaz, 2012). Thus, ability-based placement must be carefully designed and implemented to optimally benefit the learners’ self-concepts and their talent development (see Chapter 18 on high-ability grouping). An interesting point to note is that high-ability American students tended to have higher self-efficacy beliefs than their Chinese, German, and Korean counterparts (Chae & Gentry, 2011; Tang & Neber, 2008). This finding seems consistent with a research review suggesting that individuals in certain cultures tend to hold more optimistic self-beliefs and those in certain traditions tend to have more realistic self-beliefs (Klassen, 2004). Interestingly, although optimistic efficacy beliefs are believed to benefit performance and realistic efficacy beliefs may undermine performance (Bandura, 1997), the latter are not necessarily detrimental and can be equally predictive of subsequent performance (Klassen, 2004). Taken together, promoting self-beliefs can be beneficial for gifted and high-ability children’s talent development regardless of cultural backgrounds. This could be done by setting optimal expectations, coaching them to set bite-sized and self-referenced goals, and providing encouragement and opportunities for success.
EXPECTANCY-VALUE BELIEFS The expectancy-value theory posits that motivation to do well in a task is optimized when students believe in their ability and expect to perform well on the task, and when they find the task valuable (Eccles & Wigfield, 2002). The value component considers the cost (time and energy expenses) and benefits (interestingness, importance, instrumentality) of pursuing a task. The relevance of this theory to talent development is reflected in the Achievement-Orientation model (McCoach & Siegle, 2014), which addresses the lack of motivation in gifted underachievers. The model involves the key components of expectancy and value as discussed in the expectancyvalue theory. A recent intervention underpinned by the Achievement-Orientation model seeking to facilitate the development of gifted underachievers’ motivational beliefs and self-regulation skills showed significant improvements in participants’ grades over time (Rubenstein, Siegle, Reis, & McCoach, 2012). A study of high-ability American students by Kover and Worrell (2010), however, showed that perceptions of instrumentality of school tasks for attaining future goals predicted extrinsic motivation but not intrinsic motivation. This finding held true for both Asian and non-Asian students, signaling that students’ perception of the task instrumentality is necessary but insufficient in promoting intrinsic motivation. Hence, there is a need to consider other “value” dimensions (interestingness, importance) to effectively enhance intrinsic motivation. Using the Expectancy-Value model, Rodgers (2008) provided a theoretical discussion on the motivational challenges of fulfilling potential faced by African American gifted learners as a result of holding a stigma about being labeled as gifted rooted in their racial identity. Rodgers advocated the importance of both promoting expectancy and value beliefs and addressing this cultural stigma when helping these ethnic-minority learners develop their potential. Her discussion is pertinent to addressing other stereotypes that may impede the identification and motivation of gifted learners from other minority backgrounds (ethnic or gender).
ACHIEVEMENT GOALS Students pursue different achievement goals and the pursuit of different goals has different implications for learning processes and outcomes (Schunk et al., 2014). Students are said to be motivated by mastery goals when they aim to develop their knowledge and skills, but motivated by performance goals when they aim to demonstrate their ability relative to other students (Elliot, 2005). Although social goals, such as aiming to please parents or working in a group, also have been identified to be important for school motivation (Wentzel & Wigfield, 2009), there is relatively little research among high-ability learners in this area. Research has shown the cognitive, behavioral, and socioemotional benefits of the adoption of mastery goals. For example, relative to performance goal-oriented students, mastery goal-oriented students are found to be intrinsically more motivated, more engaged in learning, higher on positive emotions (joy, hope) and lower on negative emotions (boredom, anxiety), and more positive in their attitudes toward helping others and seeking help (Liem, Lau, & Cai, in press). The achievement goal literature suggests that mastery goals can be reinforced by promoting enjoyment in
the learning process and de-emphasizing competition and normative assessments (Liem et al., in press). This principle is likely to be applicable for high-ability learners too. Although investigations on achievement goals of gifted and high-ability students have been conducted across different cultures, the findings seem to be relatively inconclusive. In a United Arab Emirates study, gifted achievers reported higher effort, task, and competition goals, and lower grade-oriented goals than their underachieving peers (Albaili, 2003). However, in a German study, sixth-grade gifted (identified to be in the top 5% on nonverbal reasoning tests) and average-ability students did not differ in their mastery and performance goals (Preckel, Göetz, Pekrun, & Kleine, 2008). In a cross-cultural study of high-ability students, although American and German students reported higher effort and mastery goals than their Chinese counterparts, they did not differ in performance goals (Tang & Neber, 2008). In another study, Hong Kong gifted students’ performance-approach goals were lower than their mastery and social goals, which were found to be strong predictors of academic, nonacademic (sports, arts), and social/leadership outcomes (Chan, 2008). Further research is needed to clarify the extent to which the achievement goals of higher-ability learners differ across cultures.
MINDSETS ABOUT ABILITY Aside from the belief about “how able I am,” individuals’ mindset about “how modifiable my abilities are” holds implications for their optimism and perseverance in learning. Dweck (2012) maintained that students hold a growth mindset when they believe that their abilities can be developed through effort, whereas students hold a fixed mindset when they think that their abilities are genetically predetermined and cannot be changed. A recent study of Korean scientifically talented students and former Science Olympians showed that a growth mindset predicted creative problem solving skills (Cho & Lin, 2011), suggesting the role of a growth mindset in the quality of task engagement. Dweck’s (2012) research has shown that growth mindset students tend to hold mastery goals and believe in the power of effort, whereas fixed mindset students tend to pursue performance goals and see effort as a compensation for lack of ability. Thus, gifted students need a growth mindset to perceive that their giftedness could be further developed through dedication to learning. Although mindsets are relatively stable beliefs, research showed that they can be altered with interventions that provide learners with task-related feedback and emphasize the crucial role of effort in performance (Dweck, 2012; see Chapter 21 on mindsets).
SOCIAL INFLUENCES ON MOTIVATION AND APPLIED IMPLICATIONS Beyond the applied implications mentioned above, research suggests other practices that can be adopted by parents and teachers to motivate high-ability learners. Some of the key principles and practices are highlighted below. In terms of the home environment, SDT (Ryan & Deci, 2000, 2009) posits that autonomy-supportive parents are believed to be motivating when they fulfill their children’s needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Parents could provide their children with opportunities for decision making, encourage their children to solve their own problems, minimize pressures to achieve, as well as make time to listen and be open to their children’s ideas. SDT-based research by Garn, Matthews, and Jolly (2010) showed that parents of the gifted adopted two main ways of motivating their children. These are (1) scaffolding (by developing children’s understanding through interactive instruction [questioning]; restructuring the home learning environment; relating homework to interests; developing internalization of the importance of school) and (2) behavioral modification (through rewards and punishments). Based on a study involving parents of the gifted in the U.S. as well as in Scandinavia, Europe, and Asia, Campbell and Verna (2007) generated numerous “recipes” useful for raising successful children, for example, teaching children to use their talents to solve problems, cultivating the value of working hard, and teaching children to respect authority figures. Most of their recipes are well-aligned with the motivation research-based recommendations. In terms of the school environment, teachers could motivate students through strategies such as promoting belongingness to the class and school, having high but flexible expectations, building warm and supportive teacherstudent relationships, and emphasizing effort and mastery rather than competition (Wentzel & Wigfield, 2009). Quested and Duda (2011) demonstrated that students who saw meaning in learning and who perceived teachers as supportive of their autonomy reported higher intrinsic motivation. In terms of classroom activities and education curricula, teachers who explicitly articulate the relevance of lessons and pace learning appropriately are likely to better motivate their students. Teachers could also set tasks with difficulty levels that commensurate with the high
and typically domain-specific abilities of the gifted.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH Alongside the important areas of future research priorities identified by scholars (Clinkenbeard, 2014; McCoach & Siegle, 2014; Snyder & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2013), we believe the following research recommendations also will advance the field. First, there appears to be a lack of intervention studies targeting gifted underachievers’ motivation. Research seeking to design and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions targeting key motivational beliefs is not only important in its own right but also will be of practical relevance for educators in addressing their concerns of gifted underachievement. Second, recent literature has highlighted the importance of understanding the domain specificity of motivational beliefs. For example, Liem, McInerney, and Yeung (2015) showed that the negative Big Fish Little Pond Effects on academic self-concepts were relatively domain-specific. Studies seeking to clarify the domain specificity of the processes and outcomes of gifted students’ motivation, including those resulting from ability grouping, will provide more nuanced and useful information for promoting their motivation, well-being, and talent development in general. Third, the majority of studies have examined achievement as the outcome of motivation, with social and wellbeing outcomes largely neglected. Seligman (2011) proposed five core elements of human flourishing, including positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment (PERMA). These elements provide researchers with a promising multidimensional framework to look into a wider range of outcomes associated with motivation of gifted and high-ability learners. Fourth, studies on mindsets and giftedness have been relatively scarce. Ziegler and Stoeger (2010) expanded Dweck’s view of growth mindset and proposed the Actiotope Model of Giftedness by emphasizing the importance of individuals’ interactions with contextual factors likely to reinforce or impede the development of a growth mindset. Systematic investigations of these factors (e.g., the role of parents, teachers, educational practices such as assessment modes or feedback types) and their influences on gifted and high-ability learners’ perceptions of the modifiability of their talents, and their talent development motivation more generally, warrant future research. Last, although there has been a growing number of cross-cultural studies on motivation of gifted and high-ability students, they have chiefly viewed motivation as outcome variables and focused on between-group differences in the endorsement levels of motivational factors. The interplay between motivation and culturally-shaped personal attributes such as self-enhancement, self-criticism, or self-protection (Alicke & Sedikides, 2011) in strengthening or attenuating the effects of motivation on engagement and performance in gifted and high-ability students in different cultures is still in need of further investigations. Taken together, these five distinct but interrelated areas provide important and exciting research avenues that address practical concerns pertaining to the role of motivation in talent development of gifted and high-ability learners.
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SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENTS FOR DEVELOPING TALENT2 SEON-YOUNG LEE
INTRODUCTION Matching students’ giftedness with optimal environments is essential to talent development. Talent development is an outcome of personal and social endeavors. Literature has documented various modes of social support systems that gifted students draw on in gaining informational resources, instrumental aid, material support, and psychological guidance. Particularly, a wide array of research across different cultures identified three social support systems—home, school, and outside-of-school services—as optimal environments for talent development.
MAJOR FINDINGS HOME ENVIRONMENT: PARENTS AND ACADEMICALLY STIMULATING FAMILY Parents and home environment are the most influential support system at the early stage of talent development. Parents are the driving forces to get children into a talent field in which they have high levels of interest, enthusiasm, and knowledge, and exert influence on talent development via instilling values, monitoring, and providing support. Garn, Matthews, and Jolly (2010) found that parents of gifted children viewed themselves as the experts on the academic topics of their children’s interest. They used scaffolding techniques, such as interactive instruction, restructuring the learning environment, relating homework to the child’s interests, and internalization to increase children’s academic motivation. Parents had a larger impact on the achievement of female Olympiad winners than it did on male winners (Choe, Choi, Kim, Yoon, & Kwon, 2012). They strengthened their daughters’ interests in math and science and had them stay in the fields to compete with male counterparts. The parents of gifted females also reported higher expectations of their children’s success compared to those of gifted males. Other studies supported that parental expectation of and involvement in talent development education were instrumental to identify children’s giftedness and foster self-regulated learning and scholastic achievement (Choe et al., 2012; Park, Choi, & Kim, 2011; Shin & Kim, 2012). Parental involvement has a significant impact on artistic and creative talent development. Moon and Han (2010) reported that parents of creative scientists from Western (e.g., Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie) and Eastern (e.g., Lee Hwang, Lee Yi, Jung Yak-Yong) cultures showed above average levels of competence in their children’s talent areas, and at least one parent, either the father or the mother, was deeply involved in children’s talent education. Both groups of parents infused a creative atmosphere at home by granting and inculcating autonomy, independence, and open-mindedness to their children, although parents of the Western scientists valued talent development the most, while the Eastern parents placed highest priority on personality development. Garces-Bacsal (2013) found that parents’ high value and involvement in the arts boosted gifted teenagers’ interest and commitment to their talent fields in visual arts, theater, music, and dance. The teenagers in the study also revealed that their parents never let them put academic work aside but encouraged them to persevere in schoolwork. Another study (Choi & Han, 2009) confirmed that parents of highly creative artists valued and enjoyed the arts and endorsed their children’s participation in art education, which channeled the artists’ interest and
talents into the arts. Mothers are the propelling power behind talent development for special gifted populations particularly. For example, mothers bore the major responsibility for talent development of homeschooled gifted children via organizing, coordinating, programming, and implementing homeschooling curriculum and extracurricular activities (Jolly, Matthews, & Nester, 2013). Mothers of twice-exceptional children felt a strong sense of responsibility to normalize their children’s disability by maintaining high expectations of their children and fostering their potential strengths (Speirs Neumeister, Yssel, & Burney, 2013). Academically stimulating home environment is another contributing factor to talent development, particularly in science and math. A group of internationally acclaimed scientists attributed their success to homes filled with books. They, in retrospect, saw their parents, particularly fathers, reading books and getting engaged in their science activities (Oh, Choi, Choi, & Kwon, 2007). Yoon, Kim, Moon, and Kim (2001) identified large numbers of books and reading as a family habit to be the two manifested characteristics of the homes of 64 International Science Olympiad participants. The gifted participants reported that their parents stimulated intellectual curiosity and their fathers were helpful in garnering needed information about science. This is somewhat different from a previous review documenting that Asian parents would refrain from offering children actual help with school learning despite high levels of monitoring, pressure, and support for child education (see Jolly & Matthews, 2012). Other studies found science books, films, and plays in the homes of scientifically gifted adolescents and reported that gifted students identified their childhood experience with field trips and science activities organized and maneuvered by parents, which enhanced desire to pursue careers in science and math (Choe et al., 2012; Choi & Choi, 2012). See Chapter 16 for a full discussion of supportive parenting and family environments.
SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT: TEACHERS, GIFTED CLASSES, AND SCHOOLS Teachers’ influences on talent development are the most significant and observable results documented in recent literature. Teachers identify potential giftedness of students and stimulate talent development and future career pursuits by supporting students’ talent fields and instilling positive beliefs and high expectations of the students (Gentry, Steenbergen-Hu, & Choi, 2011; Lee, 2006; Watters, 2010). Noticeably, teachers lend gifted students handson help with mastering skills and expertise in various domains. High-quality instruction from great teachers is of vital importance to the attainment of technical proficiency and steers gifted students into a professional level in their talent fields (Subotnik & Jarvin, 2005). Studies showed that gifted students identified skillful teachers and efficient instruction as the most significant contributors for their artistic growth and accomplishment in dance (Lee, Lee, & Lee, 2010) and that teachers provided musically gifted students with informal knowledge to capitalize on their strengths, mentoring, and opportunities to seek potential career paths (Subotnik, 2000). Gifted students, including a group of science Olympiad winners, also reported that competent teachers influenced their favorable attitudes toward science (Choi & Choi, 2012), helped them to master the content, boosted academic confidence, and led to high achievement (Choe et al., 2012; Yoon et al., 2001). Students endorse teachers who are not only experts in subject matters but are also capable of employing individualized educational options (e.g., independent study, self-pacing learning, apprenticeship, acceleration, etc.) as instrumental for their talent development (Gentry et al., 2011; Siegle, Rubenstein, & Mitchell, 2014). Gifted college students recollected that teachers who had comprehensive knowledge about differentiation and employed various modes of instructional methods promoted their learning motivation. They referenced making interdisciplinary connections among various content areas and linking academic courses with personal stories and current events as the characteristics of inspiring teachers (Siegle et al., 2014). In Watters’s (2010) study, teachers’ knowledge about content areas, abilities to relate pedagogical practices and learning with students’ interests and lives, and skills to explain complex ideas had positive effects on future career pursuits of gifted college students. Students identified teachers who were able to integrate real-life issues and make course content and learning experiences meaningful and relevant to daily lives as exemplary teachers who have an impact on learning (Gentry et al., 2011). All of these results bolster the view that highly competent teachers are knowledgeable about content and also efficient in adapting instructions to the diverse needs of students. Other roles teachers play to promote talent development include inspiring students to progress at their own pace and facilitate self-directed learning (Chang, 2013; Lee & Ryu, 2011), and conveying tacit knowledge needed for social skills, self-promotion, and networking (Subotnik & Jarvin, 2005). Stimulating but flexible and permissive instruction, classes, and learning environments (Rayneri, Gerber, & Wiley, 2006) are other school factors optimizing talent development. Gifted classes and schools allow students to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance from teachers and peers about their giftedness (Garces-Bacsal, Cohen, & Tan, 2011; Hébert & McBee, 2007), regulate their own learning, get access to various modes of instructional
methods and learning materials (Lee, Koh, & Yoo, 2012), and have real-life experiences (Coxbill, Chamberlin, & Weatherford, 2013). Empirical studies showed that gifted classes involving fast-paced, challenging curriculum and class activities, differentiated instruction, and real-life mathematical problems increased students’ interest in and commitment to math, helped to grasp advanced mathematical concepts (Gavin, Casa, Firmender, & Carroll, 2013; Lee & Yoo, 2014), and contributed to high performance in math (Gavin, Casa, Adelson, Carroll, & Sheffield, 2009) including winning math and/or science Olympiads (Choe et al., 2012; Choi & Choi, 2012; Yoon et al., 2001). Elementary students in gifted cluster classes in math showed significant performance growth compared to students in nongifted math classes (Brulles, Saunders, & Cohn, 2010). Brulles and colleagues pinpointed that complex and challenging curriculum and greater attention from master teachers in the gifted classes made the difference in achievement. Burney’s (2010) study revealed that high achievement on Advanced Placement (AP) examinations was significantly related to the number of academic competitions and different AP examinations offered by the school. Hébert and McBee (2007) reported that advanced courses within an honors program enhanced gifted college students’ intellectual stimulation and desire for self-actualization.
OUTSIDE-OF-SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT: MENTORS, SPECIAL PROGRAMS, AND SOCIOCULTURAL CONTEXTS Mentors are behind the creative and academic talent development of many talented people, and particularly crucial for moving beyond an expert level of creativity toward eminence where transformational ideas and revolutionary performance occur (Subotnik & Jarvin, 2005). Subotnik and Jarvin identified networks of power, such as master teachers, agents, mentors, and other gatekeepers, as pivotal support systems to impart informal knowledge and networking to support gifted musicians. Creative artists including Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, and Pina Bausch all emphasized that building a social support network with colleagues and experts in the field stimulated creative ideas and performances (Shin, Lee, & Hwang, 2009). Choi and Han (2009) reported that the four most recognized creative writers in Korea during the 1900s and early 2000s had at least one mentor, from childhood through adulthood, who inspired creativity and made it possible to accomplish potential creativity. In Chua’s (2014) study, successful ballet and contemporary dancers in Finland and Singapore had influential people, such as skillful and supportive mentors, who identified and cultivated their artistic talents. Mentors inspired creative writers via constant and constructive critiques and support (Yoon, Han, Kang, & Choe, 2005), facilitated academically challenging experiences in an undergraduate honors program (Hébert & McBee, 2007), and had lasting impact on creative production in adulthood (Cramond, Matthews-Morgan, Bandalos, & Zuo, 2005). Outside-of-school accelerated programs, math/science clubs, and enrichment activities were helpful in developing talents in math and science. A wide array of research evidenced that gifted math and science students, including minority students, rated gifted programs/education positively in terms of advanced content, course activities, and talent-supporting environments that involved like-minded peers and teachers (Briggs, Reis, & Sullivan, 2008; Choe et al., 2012; Choi & Choi, 2012; Chua, 2014; Lee, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Peternel, 2009, 2010; Olszewski-Kubilius & Lee, 2008; Olszewski-Kubilius, Lee, Ngoi, & Ngoi, 2004; Yoon et al., 2001). Enrichment programs, such as summer programs, apprenticeships, and competitions also contributed to artistic talent development (Chua, 2014). Enrichment programs not only improved technical proficiency for successful dancers but also honed skills to embrace challenges, including criticism, setbacks, and risks dancers encountered while developing talent (Chua, 2014). Private art institutions, lessons, and training with college-based gifted programs were referenced as the most useful service for talent development of artistically gifted students in South Korea (Lee et al., 2010). The social and cultural climate, including timing and political overtones favorable to talent development, is another central support system for talent development, as it enables gifted students to get access to appropriate services available in specific talent fields (Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Worrell, 2012). Most of the successful dancers in Chua’s (2014) study lived at a time when there was a demand for talented artists in the society (i.e., Singapore). This social demand helped these dancers to receive financial support, rewards, or recognitions from gatekeepers such as funding agencies, experts, and critics (also see Garces-Bacsal et al., 2011). Choi and Han’s (2009) analysis of four eminently creative Korean writers and artists confirmed that a creativity-friendly atmosphere (e.g., great financial support for creative outputs) in Korean society inspired original ideas and artistic curiosity of these creators. Shin and colleagues’ (2009) study of 31 film directors who won international awards or recognitions revealed that coordination between artistry, societal needs, and expectations was a great inspiration for creative and independent artwork.
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Recent studies confirmed home, school, and outside-of-school environments to be the three most important support systems that optimize talent development. They were instrumental to developing talent in certain fields, such as math, science, and the arts. Parents and home environments were the most significant support systems in initiating talent development, and their effects were significant for female students talented in math and science. Yet, in the Korean studies, the impact of parents and home environments was not mainly restricted at the beginning stage of talent development in childhood but lasted throughout the gifted person’s life. Also, unlike gifted math and science students who gained a considerable amount of help and support from school-based services, artistically gifted students, noticeably in Eastern cultures, relied heavily on private art institutions, lessons, and training, and outside-of-school gifted programs with parents bearing the bulk of financial and psychological responsibility throughout the talent development process. This result reinforces the conclusion that outside-of-school services coupled with strong parental support are indispensable for artistically gifted students whose talents are not often identified, accepted, or highly appreciated in school. Finally, a number of studies, particularly involving Eastern samples, evidenced that gifted students in math and science benefit more than those in the arts and other areas from the three support systems. Few studies address areas of languages, humanities, and social studies, which may have to do with the current social and cultural climate valuing certain talent fields, such as STEM.
LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE STUDIES A large volume of literature has documented students’ perceptions about the three social support systems during the talent development process. This chapter reviewed studies linking growth and changes in performance and achievement to the support systems. Many of the studies were based on (case) analyses of gifted and creative people who showed high levels of achievement or were eminent in their talent fields. This retrospective approach helps to identify unique and contributing factors to talent development, including social and cultural contexts, but makes it difficult to account for individual differences and psychological issues intertwined with environmental and social factors. Future studies involving children with potential ability are suggested to examine how gifted students draw on the three support systems at each stage of talent development and show extraordinary accomplishment with interventions from the systems. Comparative studies involving students in different cultures might help to understand which aspects of sociocultural contexts prompt and hinder talent development in certain fields. Also, mentors’ roles were visible for artistic and creative talent development, but less so for gifted students in academic fields. Teachers might take the mentoring role for academically gifted students. Types and influences of mentors, according to talent fields, is worth examining.
IMPLICATIONS Talent development is the consequence of optimizing potential abilities by means of social support systems in the home, school, outside of school, and within an individual’s talent area. The road to talent development is a long process of commitment, support, and nurturance, and all of these support systems play unique roles during the period of talent development. It behooves parents and educators to coordinate students’ potential giftedness with a constellation of optimal environments that promote individual talent development.
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OPTIMAL PARENTING AND FAMILY ENVIRONMENTS FOR TALENT DEVELOPMENT PAULA OLSZEWSKI-KUBILIUS
INTRODUCTION The family, especially parents, is critical to a child’s development and can have a tremendous influence over the fruition of talents and gifts. Families are the first microsystem (Bronfrenbrenner, 1979) that children encounter, and one that continues to play a significant role into young adulthood. Parental actions and verbal messages influence children’s beliefs, attitudes, and values as well as their opportunities for talent development. Parents serve as interpreters of events both within and outside the family, garner educational opportunities for their child, function as role models, and set the tone for family interaction and communication patterns. Although the family’s influence on many aspects of children’s development (particularly their intellectual development and school achievement) has been studied extensively, there is comparatively little research on the families of gifted children. Much of the existing research is limited to analyses of static, descriptive characteristics of families such as SES level, family composition, or parenting style. There is little treatment of families as a complex system or as a developmental, changing influence on children and the process of talent development. Similarly, the role that families play in developing attributes in their children that are conducive to creativity and achievement (such as resiliency and grit) is missing from the literature.
MAJOR FINDINGS The literature on the families of intellectually gifted children is small but consistent in finding that their homes tend to be child-centered (Bloom, 1985; Olszewski-Kubilius, 2008) with authoritative, responsive parenting. Authoritative parenting is both nurturing and demanding; parents use reasoning and open communication but have high expectations and administer fair and consistent discipline. Authoritative parenting, as opposed to permissive or authoritarian parenting, has been found to be characteristic of the families of gifted children across multiple studies and racially and ethnically diverse samples of students (Chan, 2005; Dwairy, 2004; Garces-Bacsal, 2013). Among gifted children, this parenting style has been found to be associated with higher cognitive ability (Rudasill, Adelson, Callahan, Houlihan, & Keizer, 2013), better social skills and greater social competency (Olszewski-Kubilius, Lee, & Thomson, 2014), and healthier forms of perfectionism (i.e., mastery as opposed to other-oriented perfectionism; Speirs Neumeister, 2004). Another characteristic of families that has been studied fairly extensively is cohesion, or the degree to which family members are connected emotionally to one another. The research suggests that families of high academic achievers generally have close, harmonious relationships with strong identification between parents and children (Olszewski-Kubilius, 2008). Families of gifted children also have been found to be adaptable, which means that they are able to readily adjust to unexpected circumstances and stress (Olszewski-Kubilius, 2008). Families whose members are close and function well together will be better able to manage difficult circumstances—including the potential challenges of raising a talented child. Family cohesion and adaptability are associated with better social and emotional adjustment for gifted children, the use of effective coping strategies such as seeking social support, problem solving on the part of children (Callahan et al., 2004), and greater social competency (Olszewski-Kubilius et al., 2014). Some research suggests families of gifted children may have extreme levels of cohesion, and while
these levels are generally considered less optimal, they were suitable for gifted adolescents who relied more on their families to support their high aspirations and achievement (Taylor, 1998). There also is some limited evidence that academically talented adolescents view their families as more rigid and having more rules and consequences with a greater emphasis on organization and structure for family activities and responsibilities. However, these families were simultaneously found to be flexible and adaptable (Olszewski-Kubilius et al., 2014). The authors suggest that families may, in fact, have more rules in response to managing a high-level involvement in multiple extracurricular and outside-of-school, talent development-focused activities. The work of Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde, and Whalen (1993) suggested that families who are able to support talented children are complex, meaning that they effectively balance both integration or close bonds and connections between family members (i.e., cohesion)—and differentiation—or the push for each family member to develop his or her talents and seek out appropriate challenges and opportunities. These two forces, one pulling family members together and the other pushing them toward unique paths and individual growth, characterized families whose children persisted in their talent areas (Garces-Bacsal, 2013). “Complex family environments breed complex, autotelic personalities—in other words, individuals who habitually react to a boring situation by seeking stimulation and challenge and to an anxiety-producing one by increasing skills” (Csikszentmihalyi et al., 1993, p. 159). Parents espouse values that affect the beliefs and achievement of their children, including beliefs about effort, persistence, and the value of high achievement; the importance and role of education; destiny and control over events; the importance of money, social standing or prestige of occupations; the abilities of girls or other groups in particular domains; and the importance of community involvement or active-recreational pursuits (OlszewskiKubilius, 2008). Parents act on those beliefs and values by providing access to educational resources in the home, making children’s interests the center of family activities, encouraging participation in outside-of-school activities, providing direct teaching, helping with homework, and modeling engagement in meaningful work, resiliency, and persistence. Agreement between verbally expressed values and parental actions is optimal for high achievement and inconsistency can contribute to underachievement (Sampson, 2002). Speirs Neumeister, Yssel, and Burney (2013) found that parents’ beliefs and actions were especially critical to the recognition and development of the giftedness of twice-exceptional children. These parents recognized both their child’s gifts and disabilities, advocated strongly for them in school, sought out help and services, and actively coached their children on how to become selfadvocates for their educational and learning needs. There is some research evidence that parents can foster motivation that is conducive to talent development. For example, Gottfried and Gottfried (2004) found that task intrinsic strategies (i.e., cultivating curiosity, inquisitiveness, and task engagement) as opposed to task extrinsic strategies (e.g., use of external consequences such as rewards and punishments) were associated with higher levels of motivation among high IQ children. Similarly, Garn, Matthews, and Jolly (2010) found that parents of gifted children (ages 4 to 17) tended to use autonomy supportive motivational practices such as supporting and capitalizing on children’s interests and reasoning and logic rather than controlling strategies such as rewards and punishments. There is also evidence (reviewed in Olszewski-Kubilius, 2008) that characteristics of families can lead to different outcomes (e.g., the development of creativity or high academic achievement). Families of high academic achievers tend to be harmonious, cohesive, child-centered, and conventional in their socialization of children, resulting in strong identification between parents and children and pursuit of traditional academic paths. Families of creative individuals are more likely to have tense, but secure relationships between members and distant or competitive parent-child relationships. They allow greater freedom to their children, supervise them less closely, are less concerned about teaching them societal conventions or socializing them toward traditional adult roles or career paths, demand less conformity to parental values, and encourage the development and expression of independent ideas and unique identities. Loose parent-child bonds or lack of parent-child identification coupled with less conventional socialization has been hypothesized to contribute to the development of creativity in offspring by cultivating an early psychological independence from parents and maturity that fosters creative thinking (see Olszewski-Kubilius, 2008, for a fuller discussion). Family characteristics and parenting style have been studied for some special groups of gifted students, particularly underachievers. These families are characterized as chaotic and dysfunctional (Hébert, 2001; Peterson, 2001; Siegle, 2013) with parenting that is described as neglectful (Peterson, 2001) or overly strict, lenient, or inconsistent (Hébert, 2001; Rimm, 2008; Siegle, 2013). Rimm (2008) described changing patterns of parenting that contribute to underachievement such as very child-centered, liberal parenting when children are young, but inconsistent parenting between mother and father as children get older.
There is a smattering of studies on families and parenting of culturally different gifted children. Dwairy (2004) found that the parenting style of families of gifted Arab students was authoritative and further, that an authoritarian parenting style had a greater negative effect for gifted Arab students than for nongifted students. Chua (2014) found that families perceived as supportive by young Finnish and Singaporean dancers applied pressure on them to persist during times of waning interest and after setbacks. Garces-Bacsal (2013) found that parents of artistically talented Singaporean students were supportive despite not having occupations or experience in the arts themselves, inculcated values of hard work and persistence, and created family environments that provided structure yet allowed for flexibility and independence. Wu (2008) found similar attitudes among Chinese-American immigrant families who also emphasized the importance of work and effort for the development of talent. Most of the research on families and parenting has also involved more socioeconomically advantaged samples. Research shows that although poverty generally significantly affects families’ ability to support talented children, low-income families can provide environments and parenting that promotes high achievement and talent development. Borland, Schnur, and Wright (2000) found that low-income African American families, mostly headed by single mothers, provided stable, supportive family environments for their gifted children and promoted the value of education and academic success as a ladder to upward social mobility. Robinson, Lanzi, Weinberg, Ramey, and Ramey (2002) similarly found that parents of young children enrolled in Head Start who were excelling academically provided support and encouragement despite the significant challenges families faced due to poverty. Several researchers have found that low-income African American families professed and enacted “middle class values” regarding education and academic achievement, which enabled their children to achieve at higher levels (Borland et al., 2000; Hébert, 2000; Sampson, 2002). A particular strength of African American families is the extended family—grandmothers, aunts, uncles—who stressed the value of education, assisted with monitoring homework, modeled resilience, and acted as a buffer for stressful events and circumstances (Ford, 2011; Hébert, 2000). While Rudasill et al. (2013) found that non-White gifted children were more likely to characterize their parent’s parenting style as authoritarian, Robinson et al. (2002) found that parents of high-achieving, young African American students were rated higher on responsiveness to their child and nonrestrictive attitudes compared to lower achieving students—suggesting an authoritative style.
LIMITATIONS There are a number of limitations of the research on families and parenting of gifted children. There is little developmentally oriented research that looks at the family’s contribution over time, specifically how the role of parents change with the changing needs of the talented child and growing expertise. Any developmentally oriented research has primarily relied on retrospective accounts, which are subject to the biases of selective memories (Bloom, 1985). What is needed is more longitudinal research that is prospective (i.e., identifies young children and follows them as they age) and assesses family variables and processes repeatedly over time. For example, recent research has identified some key traits considered important to high achievement and the fruition of ability and talent, such as mindsets (Dweck, 2006) and grit (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007; Duckworth, Quinn, & Tsukayama, 2012). Although compelling psychological constructs, little is known about how these develop and specifically how families can promote them. More research is also needed on low-income and culturally and linguistically diverse families, particularly from a strengths-based rather than a deficit perspective, to understand how these families support talent development (Ford, 2011). For example, parental involvement in school is generally viewed from a White middle class perspective, with attendance at school events and parent-teacher conferences the measure of involvement. This may not apply well for diverse families who are supportive of their children’s learning, but less likely to attend school events because of work responsibilities or language barriers.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS Parenting is important, and parenting skills that support optimal talent development can be taught and fostered. Schools, gifted centers, and state advocacy groups should offer workshops for parents as part of their services. It is critical to make parents aware of the significant role they play in their child’s intellectual development and in the acquisition of attitudes and beliefs that critically affect the fruition of talent. For families with young children, and
especially children from low-income families, helping parents to provide a focus on early literacy in the home is important. Parents can also be assisted to develop ways of interacting with their young children that encourage investigation and curiosity and reinforce self-efficacy and independent learning. Parents can be educated about the talent development process and how to advocate for appropriate services within school and access outside-of-school opportunities. Parents can be helped to understand how their verbal messages, such as praise that focuses on effort rather than a product, can encourage mindsets and healthy attitudes toward challenge and “failure” or setbacks. Optimal parenting for gifted children involves establishing and maintaining strong emotional bonds with children, but also allowing them psychological space to develop a unique identity and choose their own path. Parents need to maintain closeness with children, while simultaneously pushing them to seek out activities that match their individual abilities and interests. Parents should set high expectations for children, but must be careful not to communicate that their love for their child is contingent upon achievement or success. Parents can also foster talent development by encouraging children to seek out challenging learning experiences whether in school or outside of school, while simultaneously providing emotional and psychological support to their children as they cope with high demands and possibly failure. Children need to experience the tensions and stresses that arise from high expectations, big ideas, challenging courses, and competition with equally able peers so that they can develop coping skills for stress. Parents can model effective coping strategies and encourage children to find healthy, creative outlets for emotions and stress. Finally, parents need to help children develop an open and welcoming attitude toward the world and positive beliefs about their ability to succeed, overcome obstacles, and successfully negotiate risks and challenges.
REFERENCES Bloom, B. S. (1985). Developing talent in young people. New York, NY: Ballantine. Borland, J. H., Schnur, R., & Wright, L. (2000). Economically disadvantaged students in a school for the academically gifted: A postpositivist inquiry into individual and family adjustment. Gifted Child Quarterly, 44, 13–32. Bronfrenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Callahan, C. M., Sowa, C. J., May, K., M., Tomchin, E. M., Plucker, J. A., Cunningham, C. M, & Taylor, W. (2004). The social and emotional development of gifted students (RM04118). Storrs: University of Connecticut, National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. Chan, D. W. (2005). Family environment and talent development of Chinese gifted students in Hong Kong. Gifted Child Quarterly, 49, 211–221. Chua, J. (2014). Dance talent development: Case studies of successful dancers in Finland and Singapore. Roeper Review, 36, 249–263. Csikszentmihalyi, M., Rathunde, K., & Whalen, S. (1993). Talented teenagers: The roots of success and failure. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Duckworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for longterm goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 1087–1101. Duckworth, A. L., Quinn, P. D., & Tsukayama, E. (2012). What No Child Left Behind leaves behind: The roles of IQ and self-control in predicting standardized achievement test scores and report card grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, 439–451. Dwairy, M. (2004). Parenting styles and mental health of Arab gifted adolescents. Gifted Child Quarterly, 28, 275– 286. Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindsets: The psychology of success. New York, NY: Ballantine. Ford, D. Y. (2011). Reversing underachievement among gifted Black students (2nd ed.). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Garces-Bascal, R. M. (2013). Perceived family influences in talent development among artistically talented teenagers in Singapore. Roeper Review, 35, 7–17. Garn, A. C., Matthews, M. S., & Jolly, J. L. (2010). Parental influences on the academic motivation of gifted students: A self-determination theory perspective. Gifted Child Quarterly, 54, 263–272. Gottfried, A. E., & Gottfried, A. W. (2004). Toward the development of a conceptualization of gifted motivation. Gifted Child Quarterly, 48, 121–132. Hébert, T. P. (2000). Defining belief in self: Intelligent young men in an urban high school. Gifted Child Quarterly, 44, 91–114. Hébert. T. P. (2001). “If I had a new notebook, I know things would change”: Bright underachieving young men in
urban classrooms. Gifted Child Quarterly, 45, 174–194. Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (2008). The role of the family in talent development. In S. I. Pfeiffer (Ed.), Handbook of giftedness in children. Psycho-educational theory, research, and best practice (pp. 53–70). New York, NY: Springer. Olszewski-Kublius, P., Lee, S.-L., & Thomson, D. L. (2014). Family environment and social development in gifted students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 58, 119–216. Peterson, J. S. (2001). Successful adults who were once adolescent underachievers. Gifted Child Quarterly, 45, 236– 250. Rimm, S. (2008). Why bright kids get poor grades (3rd ed.). Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press. Robinson, N. M., Lanzi, R. G., Weinberg, R. A., Ramey, S. L., & Ramey, C. R. (2002). Family factors associated with high academic competence in former Head Start children at third grade. Gifted Child Quarterly, 46, 278– 290. Rudasill, K. M., Adelson, J. L., Callahan, C. M., Houlihan, D. V., & Keizer, B. M. (2013). Gifted students’ perceptions of parenting styles: Association with cognitive ability, sex, race, and age. Gifted Child Quarterly, 57, 15–24. Sampson, W. A. (2002). Black student achievement: How much do family and school really matter? Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. Siegle, D. (2013). The underachieving gifted child. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Speirs Neumeister, K. L. (2004). Factors influencing the development of perfectionism in gifted college students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 48, 259–274. Speirs Neumeister, K. L., Yssel, N., & Burney, V. H. (2013). The influence of primary caregivers in fostering success in twice-exceptional children. Gifted Child Quarterly, 57, 263–274. Taylor, J. W. (1998). Gifted adolescents and the “balanced family” concept. International Forum, 1, 5–26. Wu, E. H. (2008). Parental influence on children’s talent development: A case study with three Chinese American families. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 32, 100–129.
PROMISING SUPPORTS AND INTERVENTIONS INTRODUCTION What interventions are demonstrated to significantly impact the social or emotional development of gifted children? Intervention is where the research in our field is weakest. We wish we knew much more. Our field has a widespread practice of recommending social and emotional practices for which there is little or no empirical support. The authors in this section offer several explanations for this as well as some solutions to resolve the problem. They focus on four broad areas of intervention that have some empirical evidence for their effectiveness: academic acceleration, high-ability grouping, counseling, and mindsets. You might consider the following questions as you read this section: Are the most popular practices those with the strongest empirical support? Are there some interventions that seem to have greater advantage for certain subpopulations of gifted students (e.g., disadvantaged, twice-exceptional, certain minority students)? Is there anything it seems we should stop doing? One limitation of the research that Plucker identifies is that studies often focus on effects on self-concept, but social and emotional needs are much more than self-concept. Our understanding of the benefits of some common practices is limited by the narrow focus of the outcomes we typically measure. Research results are also often not consistent enough to confirm that a particular intervention is beneficial. Sometimes, though, we can state with confidence that certain recommended practices are clearly not harmful to gifted children’s social and emotional development. In the final chapter, the editorial team presents a synthesis of the major findings from the entire book and proposes specific next steps for research. An important key idea that we come back to at the end is that intervention matters little if the instruction and curriculum is not appropriate. Teaching quality and the goodness of fit between the personal characteristics of the student and his or her learning environments cannot be replaced by even the most sophisticated of educational or psychological interventions.
THE SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF ACCELERATION KRISTOFOR WILEY
INTRODUCTION The literature on the academic benefits of acceleration is overwhelmingly supportive. The landmark publication A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Children (Colangelo, Assouline, & Gross, 2004) summarized 30 years of individual studies, along with meta-analyses of those studies. The research was updated in 2015 in A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students (Assouline, Colangelo, VanTassel-Baska, & Lupkowski-Shoplik). In both reports, the researchers found academic advantages across multiple outcomes for a variety of acceleration practices. The 2015 report addressed the social and emotional lives of gifted students, concluding that there are very few times and circumstances when acceleration may cause difficulty in these domains (Cross, Andersen, & Mammadov, 2015). Studies of stakeholder attitudes, however, indicate that these neutral findings are often at odds with anecdotal experience and traditional wisdom (Rambo & McCoach, 2012; Siegle, Wilson, & Little, 2013). Although training in gifted education can improve attitudes toward acceleration (Hoogeveen, van Hell, & Verhoeven, 2005), the will to implement a policy of acceleration can still be thwarted by institutional resistance (Lohman & Marron, 2008). For acceleration to become widely accepted and wisely used, increased awareness of its merits and limitations must move beyond gifted educators to all of the stakeholders in an educational environment.
MAJOR FINDINGS META-ANALYSES Meta-analytic studies bring together statistical results from an array of individual studies, with the goal of achieving a broader perspective on the research. As part of A Nation Deceived, Kulik (2004) produced a seminal meta-analysis of social and emotional results from acceleration studies conducted over the previous 40 years. Kulik found that educational plans (e.g., planning for college) benefited from acceleration, while “liking for school,” “participation in school activities,” and “self-acceptance” all showed inconsistent or negligible relationships with acceleration. Importantly, only a “small number of studies” (p. 18) were identified as addressing affective topics, and there were “few studies from recent years” (p. 21). Kulik’s statistical analysis in the report is followed by a comprehensive review of research by Robinson (2004), who suggested that while we still have much to learn, “educators’ worries about harming students by accelerative choices can generally be laid to rest” (p. 64). Steenbergen-Hu and Moon (2011) supplemented Kulik’s (2004) meta-analysis, increasing the number of studies synthesized and incorporating research published through 2008. The authors focused on factors that might explain the concerns of practitioners in the absence of empirical evidence. Their results echoed those of Kulik, demonstrating no consistent social or emotional differences between accelerated and nonaccelerated students, regardless of whether comparison was made to age peers or grade-level peers. In addition, they found no differential results on the basis of gender or type of acceleration. The authors did detect a significant effect of grade level at acceleration, with students accelerated in elementary grades experiencing social and emotional advantages, while
secondary students showed a slight decline in self-esteem upon acceleration. This recommendation for early acceleration supports prior findings and is, in turn, supported by subsequent individual studies.
INDIVIDUAL STUDIES While meta-analytic studies offer a clear snapshot of the wide landscape of research, they have several limitations. Social and emotional research concerning acceleration is confounded by multiple definitions (e.g., “giftedness,” “self-esteem,” and “acceleration”). Meta-analyses bring multiple studies together to make them statistically comparable, but in doing so, these potentially important differences are lost through consolidation into uniform definitions. This makes it critical to identify studies specific to the purpose and interpret results in the context of the study design. This information is highlighted in the studies presented below, clustered by the acceleration practice addressed. Grade-based acceleration. Skipping one or more grades is one of the more common forms of acceleration. In fact, Colangelo, Assouline, and Marron (2013) suggest that much of the resistance to acceleration stems from “the misconception that acceleration refers exclusively to grade-based acceleration” (p. 167). Unlike some other forms, grade-based acceleration typically involves the omission of a full year of curriculum, as well as the replacement of an established peer cohort with a new one. Research on grade skipping is supportive. Hoogeveen, van Hell, and Verhoeven (2009) followed 53 students in the Netherlands as they were accelerated past a single grade level into grades 7 or 8, using the Self-Description Questionnaire II (SDQ-II; Marsh, 1990) to assess differences in self-concept. The comparison group was the newly acquired cohort of grade peers. The authors found no significant differences in total self-concept, but there was a difference in social self-concept regarding same-sex relations, with accelerated students scoring lower than nonaccelerated peers. As students moved into their second year after acceleration, these social differences were exacerbated in boys but disappeared among girls. The authors suggested this may be a result of later onset of puberty in boys, exacerbating physical differences between accelerated and nonaccelerated boys. These results indicate the importance of considering gender when selecting students for acceleration. In addition to the SDQ-II, Hoogeveen et al. (2009) surveyed the accelerated students and their peers to paint a picture of social standing and reputation among the students. Students were asked to list the three students they liked most, the three they liked least, and which students most often showed a variety of behavioral traits, from conceit to leadership. The authors used the nominations of popularity to calculate social impact (the number of times a student was mentioned, positively or negatively) and social preference (the difference between the numbers of positive and negative nominations). Repeated measures analysis indicated that accelerated students tended slightly toward higher social impact (η2 = 0.013). For reference, this was slightly less pronounced than the difference between boys and girls (η2 = 0.022). The accelerated students received lower standardized scores for social preference (η2 = 0.078), which dwarfed the difference between girls and boys (η2 = 0.014). In summary, the accelerated students were more frequently mentioned as a notable facet in the social experience of their classmates, but typically in a more negative sense. In terms of trait reputation, conceit was mentioned more often among accelerated students (η2 = 0.121), while cooperation (η2 = 0.057), helpfulness (η2 = 0.052), and humor (η2 = 0.032) were moderately lower among the accelerated sample. Together with the SDQ-II results, these results suggest that while general self-concept seems unrelated to acceleration, the landscape of peer relations is probably still affected. Hoogeveen, van Hell, and Verhoeven (2012) produced a complement to this study, incorporating a much broader age range and introducing an analysis of environmental factors. The authors assessed 148 accelerated students and 55 nonaccelerated students, all identified as gifted and ranging in age from 4 to 27 years, using three forms of the SDQ calibrated to different age groups. SDQ results indicated no overall differences between accelerated students and their grade peers. There were, however, different results based on the grade at acceleration. The nonaccelerated students showed a decline in both peer relations and general self-esteem as they entered grades 4–6, while accelerated students did not. This interaction with grade level at acceleration is a consistent theme, and the authors draw on these results to recommend early acceleration, suggesting that the passage of time has a positive effect on the self-concept of accelerated students. The authors also employed a parent questionnaire and student diaries as part of their study. From these sources, the authors discovered that in secondary, nonaccelerated students, the quality of parent interaction had a significant and meaningful impact on total self-concept. This relationship was statistically insignificant for accelerated students, and the authors suggested that the accelerated students were “less susceptible to personal and environmental factors” (Hoogeveen et al., 2012, p. 598). Parents also indicated that risk-avoidance and “underground” behaviors (e.g.,
denying giftedness or abstaining from gifted programming) were less prevalent in accelerated students. Early entrance. In the same year that A Nation Deceived was published, Gagné and Gagnier (2004) published a study on students admitted early to kindergarten in Quebec. They assessed 98 early entrants, 43 in kindergarten and 55 in second grade, on four social and emotional constructs: Integration, Maturity, Achievement, and Conduct. To gain greater resolution for comparison, the researchers divided the nonaccelerated classmates into four quarters based on month of birth. Across all four measures and in both grades, the accelerated students consistently scored higher than their youngest classmates. In most cases, the mean score for the early entrants fell squarely between the second and third cohorts of their classmates (i.e., centering on the age median). In addition, in second grade, the accelerated students exhibited higher achievement scores than all comparison groups. Thus, early entrants did not represent behavioral outliers in either kindergarten or second grade, and their academic achievement recovered and once again exceeded their classmates by second grade. In an attempt to capture faculty perceptions, the researchers also asked teachers to indicate their five best- and worst-adjusted students on each of the four scales above. The ratings were designed to be blind to the acceleration status of the individual students to avoid bias in the ratings. The results indicated that teachers in both grades found 30% of accelerated students to be “struggling” on two or more scales, in contrast with just below 24% across the entire sample. In the context of the more positive results described above and the authors’ admitted limitations on keeping acceleration status hidden, this finding may be as informative about teacher expectations as it is about student experience. Radical acceleration. Radical acceleration refers to grade-based acceleration that results in high school graduation 3 or more years earlier than is conventional (Stanley, 1978). Charlton, Marolf, and Stanley (2002) produced a semibiographical case study about the longitudinal impact of participation in the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), a well-established accelerative program at Johns Hopkins University. The first two authors are graduates of the program, and they offer deep narrative descriptions of their experiences following participation. Both messages are supportive of the social and emotional impact of their acceleration. Another perspective was provided by a report of longitudinal findings from radically accelerated students in Australia (Gross, 2006). After tracking 60 high-ability (IQ > 159) students for 20 years, Gross (2006) analyzed selfesteem scores on the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (CSEI; Coopersmith, 1981). Gross reported that selfesteem scores and personal interview data indicated high levels of emotional satisfaction in those students who were radically accelerated (n = 17), with no regrets for the intervention indicated. Similar results were obtained from those accelerated through 2 years (n = 5), while negative results were reported for those accelerated one year (n = 5) or not at all (n = 33). Thus, with highly gifted students, one year of acceleration may actually be detrimental, while 2 or more years are conducive to social and emotional benefit. Subject-based acceleration. Recent research on subject-based acceleration is limited. Ma (2002) employed hierarchical linear modeling analysis on data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth dataset to study selfesteem in students accelerated in mathematics. The author identified students as gifted if they scored in the 90th percentile on math achievement, and the criterion for acceleration was participation in Algebra I in grades 7 or 8. Although enrollment in Algebra I by the end of eighth grade may seem a given for such students, only 49% of Ma’s sample took Algebra I in those years. Ma (2002) focused primarily on the rate of change in self-esteem across grades 7–12, comparing accelerated and nonaccelerated gifted students. The author found that, although initial self-esteem differences between accelerated and nonaccelerated gifted students were not significant, only the accelerated students grew in self-esteem across the grades. Thus, acceleration predicted a long-term increase in self-esteem, and students starting with lower self-esteem grew more rapidly. In addition, although the school of attendance had a strong effect on student self-esteem, this school effect was negligible for accelerated gifted students. This suggests that accelerated students may rely on an internal frame of reference more than their nonaccelerated peers. Finally, Ma found that growth in self-esteem was significantly moderated by both gender and race, with boys and minorities gaining self-esteem faster than their counterparts. More recently, Lee, Olszewski-Kubilius, and Peternel (2010) addressed subject-based acceleration through a qualitative study of 30 participants in Project EXCITE, a program through Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. Participants were minority students in grades 4–7, some of whom had been accelerated in math and others who had yet to enter accelerated coursework. Interviews were also conducted with their teachers. The students indicated a positive experience with acceleration in general, while the teachers adopted a more cautious tone. For example, while student reporting of peer pressure was consistent across accelerated and “preaccelerated” students, teachers perceived greater pressure in the accelerated students. This, as with Gagné and Gagnier (2004), is a reflection of the differential perceptions between students and the educators surrounding them. Nevertheless, the
teachers suggested that the social and emotional hazards of acceleration could be avoided by paying attention to student readiness, both academic and emotional.
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES International research has a strong presence in the literature on acceleration. Hoogeveen et al. (2009, 2012) have initiated a promising line of research on grade-based acceleration among Dutch students, while Gagné and Gagnier (2004) offered some of our most recent understanding of early kindergarten entrance using data from Canada. Work with profoundly gifted students being radically accelerated has been provided by both domestic researchers (Charlton et al., 2002) and by studies from Australia (Gross, 2006). The United States has historically been reticent regarding acceleration as educational policy, as described in A Nation Deceived and in multiple studies since (Missett, Brunner, Callahan, Moon, & Azano, 2014; Siegle et al., 2013; Wood, Portman, Cigrand, & Colangelo, 2010). This national resistance to acceleration is present across teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents. By way of contrast, attitudes have been shown to be more positive in New Zealand (Wardman, 2009) and Australia (Gallagher & Smith, 2013).
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY A fundamental challenge in giftedness research is that of causality. Experimental design would require researchers to randomly choose some gifted students for acceleration, leaving others with their age cohorts. This is clearly a difficult design to implement. Thus, we are unable to easily compare like students with and without acceleration. Instead, we typically rely on comparisons with nonidentified peers, an approach that introduces a host of other explanations for difference. With this in mind, future research would benefit from designs incorporating quasi-experimental techniques, such as propensity score matching and regression discontinuity, where sample sizes allow. In the absence of that sample size, rigorous qualitative work promises to open a window into student experience. Other limitations have been indicated above. Varying definitions of terms (e.g., “acceleration,” “self-concept,” and “gifted”) make comparison of findings across studies tenuous. There is no magic bullet here, save to consider very carefully the context of any findings employed for decision-making purposes. Future research would be strengthened by replacing terms such as gifted with more descriptive indicators based on how students were chosen for treatment. Through clarity, we might avoid the inappropriate application of findings from one group of students to another.
IMPLICATIONS The research findings on acceleration continue to be overwhelmingly positive concerning academics, and convincingly neutral for social and emotional concerns. However, the demonstration of differential outcomes between age groups and genders again highlights the importance of making the decision to accelerate in the context of the individual student. Neihart (2007) suggested that a tool such as the Iowa Acceleration Scales (Assouline, Colangelo, Lupkowski-Shoplik, Forstadt, & Lipscomb, 2009) might be used for informed selection based on “social readiness, emotional maturity, and motivation for acceleration” (p. 336). Her recommendation of acceleration as a positive and essential option for programming continues to resonate in contemporary research.
REFERENCES Assouline, S. G., Colangelo, N., Lupkowski-Shoplik, A., Forstadt, L., & Lipscomb, J. (2009). Iowa Acceleration Scale manual: A guide for whole-grade acceleration K–8 (3rd ed.). Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press. Assouline, S. G., Colangelo, N., VanTassel-Baska, J. & Lupkowski-Shoplik, A. (2015). A nation empowered: How evidence trumps the excuses holding back America’s brightest students. Iowa City: University of Iowa, The
Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Charlton, J. C., Marolf, D. M., & Stanley, J. C. (2002). Follow‐up insights on rapid educational acceleration. Roeper Review, 24, 145–151. Colangelo, N., Assouline, S. G., & Gross, M. U. M. (2004). A nation deceived: How schools hold back America’s brightest students (Vol. II). Iowa City: University of Iowa, The Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Colangelo, N., Assouline, S. G., & Marron, M. A. (2013). Evidence trumps beliefs. In C. M. Callahan & H. L. Hertberg-Davis (Eds.), Fundamentals of gifted education: Considering multiple perspectives (pp. 164–175). New York, NY: Routledge. Coopersmith, S. (1981). Self-Esteem Inventory. Palo Alto, CA: Counseling Psychologists. Cross, T. L., Andersen, L., & Mammadov, S. (2015). Effects of academic acceleration on the social and emotional lives of gifted students. In S. G. Assouline, N. Colangelo, J. L. VanTassel-Baska, & A. Lupkowski-Shoplik (Eds.), A nation empowered: How evidence trumps the excuses holding back America’s brightest students. Iowa City: University of Iowa, The Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Gagné, F., & Gagnier, N. (2004). The socio‐affective and academic impact of early entrance to school. Roeper Review, 26, 128–138. Gallagher, S., & Smith, S. R. (2013). Acceleration for talent development: Parents’ and teachers’ attitudes towards supporting the social and emotional needs of gifted children. International Journal for Talent Development and Creativity, 1, 97–112. Gross, M. U. M. (2006). Exceptionally gifted children: Long-term outcomes of academic acceleration and nonacceleration. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 29, 404–429. Hoogeveen, L., van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2005). Teacher attitudes toward academic acceleration and accelerated students in the Netherlands. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 29, 30–59. Hoogeveen, L., van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2009). Self-concept and social status of accelerated and nonaccelerated students in the first 2 years of secondary school in the Netherlands. Gifted Child Quarterly, 53, 50–67. Hoogeveen, L., van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2012). Social‐ emotional characteristics of gifted accelerated and non‐accelerated students in the Netherlands. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 585–605. Kulik, J. A. (2004). Meta-analytic studies of acceleration. In N. Colangelo, S. G. Assouline, & M. U. M. Gross (Eds.), A nation deceived: How schools hold back America’s brightest students (Vol. II, pp. 13–22). Iowa City: University of Iowa, The Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Lee, S.-Y., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Peternel, G. (2010). The efficacy of academic acceleration for gifted minority students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 54, 189–208. Lohman, D. F., & Marron, M. A. (2008). Studying acceleration with national datasets and surveys: Some suggestions, some results, and our experiences. Gifted Children, 2(2), 3–8. Retrieved from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/giftedchildren/vol2/iss2/3 Ma, X. (2002). Early acceleration of mathematics students and its effect on growth in self-esteem: A longitudinal study. International Review of Education, 48, 443–468. Marsh, H. W. (1990). Self-Description Questionnaire, II. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation. Missett, T. C., Brunner, M. M., Callahan, C. M., Moon, T. R., & Azano, A. P. (2014). Exploring teacher beliefs and use of acceleration, ability grouping, and formative assessment. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 37, 245–268. Neihart, M. (2007). The socioaffective impact of acceleration and ability grouping: Recommendations for best practice. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51, 330–341. Rambo, K. E., & McCoach, D. B. (2012). Teacher attitudes toward subject-specific acceleration: Instrument development and validation. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 35, 129–152. Robinson, N. M. (2004). Effects of academic acceleration on the social-emotional status of gifted students. In N. Colangelo, S. G. Assouline, & M. U. M. Gross (Eds.), A nation deceived: How schools hold back America’s brightest students (Vol. II, pp. 59–67). Iowa City: University of Iowa, The Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Siegle, D., Wilson, H. E., & Little, C. A. (2013). A sample of gifted and talented educators’ attitudes about academic acceleration. Journal of Advanced Academics, 24, 27–51. Stanley, J. C. (1978). Radical acceleration: Recent educational innovation at JHU. Gifted Child Quarterly, 22, 62– 67.
Steenbergen-Hu, S., & Moon, S. M. (2011). The effects of acceleration on high-ability learners: A meta-analysis. Gifted Child Quarterly, 55, 39–53. Wardman, J. (2009). Secondary teachers’, student teachers’ and education students’ attitudes to full year academic acceleration as a strategy for gifted students. Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, 18, 25–36. Wood, S., Portman, T. A. A., Cigrand, D. L., & Colangelo, N. (2010). School counselors’ perceptions and experience with acceleration as a program option for gifted and talented students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 54, 168–178.
ABILITY GROUPING AND THE SOCIOEMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF GIFTED STUDENTS JONATHAN A. PLUCKER AND ANNA DILLEY
INTRODUCTION Ability grouping of gifted students has been a fairly contentious topic for various reasons. Although the research supporting the academic benefits tends toward the positive, the debate remains heated over possible social and emotional effects. In order to define our terms, ability grouping refers to numerous organizational strategies in which students at similar levels of ability in a specific subject are grouped together for instruction. The term “tracking” however, although often used interchangeably with “ability grouping” (e.g., Loveless, 2009; Oakes, 2005), is a more rigid strategy that generally involves static, long-term placements and has led in years past to de facto segregation of racial minority students and students of lower socioeconomic status. Yet ability grouping is much more flexible than tracking; different types of groups can be formed within or between classrooms, and students may move among the groups as educators strive to match student abilities with the level of challenge in each ability group. Beyond these differences, the research has pointed to differences in outcomes between tracking and ability grouping (Loveless, 1998), so equating the two terms is problematic. The implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has precipitated discussion about the usefulness of ability grouping, with some CCSS advocates (e.g., Schmidt & Burroughs, 2013) arguing against the use of ability grouping (see discussion in Plucker, 2015). This development appears to ensure that the grouping debate will be a fixture of education and education policy for years to come. As a result, educators should be familiar with not only the academic effects but also the social and emotional impact these strategies could have on gifted students. Although the academic benefits of ability grouping have been extensively studied and debated, the social and emotional effects are less well-studied but similarly debated. For example, scholars have argued that the change in frame of reference from a heterogeneous group to a homogeneous one could result in a drop in students’ academic self-concept (Marsh, Chessor, Craven, & Roche, 1995; Marsh & Hau, 2003). However, not all of the research supports these negative hypotheses, with many studies finding positive effects or no effect on self-concept (Kulik & Kulik, 1982).
MAJOR FINDINGS The impact of homogeneous ability grouping on academic self-concept is a frequent area of debate regarding the psychosocial impact of ability grouping. One theory at the crux of this debate is Marsh’s Big Fish Little Pond Effect (BFLPE; Marsh, 1994; Marsh et al., 1995), in which Marsh and colleagues hypothesized that when gifted students are moved from a mixed-ability classroom to an ability-grouped classroom, their academic self-concept decreases. This theory arose from social comparison theories and relies on the idea that with an altered population to compare oneself to, self-perception would be subsequently altered. This new frame of reference, where before they were comparing themselves to lower ability students in a mixed classroom, leads them to develop lower self-concepts when they compare themselves to other gifted students. Numerous studies provide support for this theory (Becker et al., 2014; Marsh et al., 1995; Marsh & Hau, 2003) in both domestic and international settings. Interestingly, in the study by Becker et al. (2014), conducted in Germany, the effects on academic self-concept remained persistent for
several years. However, not all studies show negative effects on self-concept. Kulik and Kulik (1982) found a number of studies that showed positive effects on academic self-concept, and still others with no effects whatsoever. In addition, Plucker et al. (2004) questioned whether high self-concepts are necessarily a universally positive affect for gifted students; they also noted that high-ability students may participate in a range of service delivery options (e.g., ability grouping, heterogeneous grouping, evening and weekend classes, summer experiences for gifted students), making any conclusions about the impact of any one instructional strategy, such as ability grouping, on the selfconcepts of gifted students somewhat problematic. Subsequent research by Makel, Lee, Olszewski-Kubilius, and Putallaz (2012) provided evidence in support of this hypothesis, finding that the BFLPE may not necessarily apply to gifted students participating in summer programming. Although not directly measuring self-concept, Adams-Byers, Whitsell, and Moon (2004) found mixed results in terms of psychosocial advantages of ability grouping. In a structured interview, participants in a residential summer program were asked to consider both the homogeneous group of the summer program, and the heterogeneous grouping of their high school environment. The students generally agreed on the academic benefits of the summer program, but their conclusions about the social impact were somewhat inconclusive, with 25 of 40 responses citing heterogeneous grouping as having more advantages socially. However, many of these responses were in reference to the lower level of competition in heterogeneous groups, and therefore the relative ease of success. However, these results may not be as dire as they sound. Plucker et al. (2004) pointed out that academic selfconcept is not the end-all of students’ emotional needs, and subsequent studies provide evidence of, at worst, no positive or negative differences in socioemotional outcomes for gifted students participating in ability grouping (e.g., Catsambis & Buttaro, 2012; Vogl & Preckel, 2014). Motivation, attitude toward subject matter, future academic goals, and career interests are all areas equally necessary to the long-term success of any student. In Neihart’s (2007) review of the research, she summarized research showing positive gains in all of those areas. For example, homogenous grouping may also be particularly valuable for minority gifted students in this regard (Isaacs & Duffus, 1995). By creating a supportive environment within which minority students can pursue their academic goals, many of these students achieve more of their academic goals, and set higher goals for their future. In their study, Isaacs and Duffus (1995) showed that when involved with a Scholars Club, members achieved 95% of their academic goals for the year, and 75% attended college immediately after high school. The club was built on a foundation of raising students’ self-esteem and academic self-efficacy. This brings up an important concern about the history of tracking and ability grouping. In the past, tracking has been a thinly veiled method to segregate students based on race and socioeconomic status. Tracking isn’t inherently disadvantageous to minority populations, however. Loveless (2014) argued that tracking can be used as a tool to greatly improve student achievement, particularly for disadvantaged students. It is vital to use cultures of high achievement to encourage minority gifted students to continue their educations to the highest level attainable. In meta-analyses, often the effects for ability grouping across ability level of students is found to be small or negligible (Kulik & Kulik, 1982; Kulik & Kulik, 1992; Slavin, 1987, 1990) in terms of numerous social and emotional factors. Slavin (1990), in a conclusion similar to Kulik and Kulik (1992) stated, The lesson to be drawn from research on ability grouping may be that unless teaching methods are systematically changed, school organization has little impact on student achievement…. if teachers continue to use some form of lecture/discussion/seatwork/quiz, then it may matter very little in the aggregate which … students the teachers are facing. (pp. 491–492) This is an important finding, not least because it applies to gifted students participating in other organizational reforms (e.g., Plucker, Makel, Hansen, & Muller, 2008; Plucker, Makel, & Rapp, 2008). Put another way, regardless of the ability level of the student, appropriate adjustments must be made to instruction and the curriculum to accommodate student learning, otherwise interventions are unlikely to produce any change in student outcomes. This is one possible reason why the effects of ability grouping on gifted students may vary from study to study. When implemented with appropriate care and attention to curriculum, ability grouping can be beneficial for students. When implemented carelessly, however, it is a riskier endeavor. The misconceptions that ability grouping “will always help the gifted” or “will always harm low-achieving students” needs to be put to rest. The issue is far more complicated than either of those statements imply. Another aspect of the puzzle is the effect of ability grouping on twice-exceptional students. Zentall, Moon, Hull, and Grskovic (2001) conducted a study on gifted students with ADHD in a self-contained accelerated classroom. They compared the students within the classroom (gifted with ADHD versus gifted without ADHD) and between
classrooms (gifted ADHD versus nongifted ADHD) in terms of social relations. They found that the gifted students with ADHD suffered negative effects on their social relations, and struggled more than either of their peers, although they continued to succeed academically. This is an area in which further research is desperately needed.
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES Some research has been done internationally on selective schools, and seems currently to be in support of the BFLPE. Marsh and Hau (2003) conducted an analysis of PISA scores in 26 different countries, focusing specifically on schools for high-ability students. In their analysis, they found that students in schools with an average level of academic achievement one standard deviation above the mean were -.206 standard deviations below the mean in academic self-concept. This effect seemed to be consistent across levels of student academic achievement. That is, lower achieving students and high-achieving students within the high-ability schools both suffered equitable negative effects to their self-concept. In another study by Becker et al. (2014), conducted in Germany, the researchers examined the psychosocial effects of gifted students transferring into competitive secondary schools in sixth grade, compared to students who remained in their elementary school for sixth grade. They found that the early-transfer students experienced negative effects on academic self-concept, and higher levels of school anxiety, and although these students had no change in a measure of peer relations, their counterparts remaining in elementary school experienced a positive effect. However, the groupings studied in both of these papers looked only at schools that were highly academically selective, as opposed to selective programs within less selective schools, limiting their results’ generalizability to more common within-school grouping strategies.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY Due to conflicting evidence of researchers, it is clear that this area is in need of further research. Despite the conflict, many gifted education scholars and advocates generally believe that ability grouping has positive effects on both student achievement and self-concept across ability levels. However, critics claim that ability grouping is universally harmful (e.g., Slavin & Braddock, 1993). As one think tank recently stated, “The vast majority of research into so-called tracking or ability grouping of students has reached a definite conclusion: it’s harmful” (Great Lakes Center, 2013, para. 1). Neither of these conclusions is supported by the available evidence. The effects of flexible ability grouping on both academic and socioemotional outcomes is complex: Under certain conditions, grouping appears to benefit students, both academically and affectively; under other conditions, such as those that lead to tracking, grouping is associated with negative outcomes. Slavin (1990) raised a concern that remains relevant despite the age of his study: Many of the major metaanalyses (Kulik & Kulik, 1982; Kulik & Kulik, 1992; Slavin, 1987, 1990) include within themselves studies that are decades old. Between the 1990s and today, many aspects of grouping strategies, as well as teacher training and professional development practices, have changed dramatically. Although there have been some more recent studies (e.g., Collins & Gan, 2013; Keeves, Hungi, & Darmawan, 2013; Nomi, 2010), the results are not consistent enough to draw reasonable conclusions.
IMPLICATIONS A safe conclusion at this point in time is that ability grouping is associated with limited, positive effects regarding both academic and socioemotional outcomes, but that a great deal of research is still needed on the academic, affective, and motivational effects of various grouping strategies on high-ability students. This future research should also specifically note that the true comparison in these studies tends to be ability-grouped classrooms versus age-grouped classrooms. In other words, the comparison of interest is not between grouping and not grouping, but rather between two different forms of it: one deliberate and ability-based, and the other somewhat arbitrary and age-based. This point may sound semantic, but much of the grouping debate over the past 30 years has been, to paraphrase Shakespeare, “To group or not to group?”, when the actual debate is, “On what basis should we group?” However, a number of implications for practice can be drawn from the available literature. First, although claims
about the efficacy of grouping need to be tempered, there is little convincing evidence that grouping does academic or affective harm to students of any ability level. Although theoretical cases have been made that grouping may lead to negative affective outcomes for gifted students, there is a range of opinion on this issue, and the limited empirical evidence does not point to any obvious harm—and hints at positive outcomes. Second, the instructional quality and academic resources within a specific, ability-grouped classroom appears to be a much more important factor than the grouping itself. As suggested by Slavin (1990), teacher training and curriculum design may be the axis upon which student success pivots. As noted above, a more fruitful line of research may be to determine under which curricular and instructional conditions ability grouping can be beneficial for high-ability students, and under which conditions it is not optimal. Third, the affective impact of ability grouping on economically vulnerable, twice-exceptional, and racial and ethnic minority students remains largely unstudied. These students may already be at a disadvantage in terms of psychosocial adjustment, making it vital that researchers understand the impact grouping strategies has when used with them.
REFERENCES Adams-Byers, J., Whitsell, S. S., & Moon, S. M. (2004). Gifted students’ perceptions of the academic and social/emotional effects of homogeneous and heterogeneous grouping. Gifted Child Quarterly, 48, 7–20. Becker, M., Neumann, M., Tetzner, J., Böse, S., Knoppick, H., Maaz, K., … & Lehmann, R. (2014). Is early ability grouping good for high-achieving students’ psychosocial development? Effects of the transition into academically selective schools. Journal of Educational Psychology, 106, 555–568. Catsambis, S., & Buttaro, A., Jr. (2012). Revisiting “Kindergarten as academic boot camp”: A nationwide study of ability grouping and psycho-social development. Social Psychology of Education, 15, 483–515. Collins, C. A., & Gan, L. (2013). Does sorting students improve scores? An analysis of class composition. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 18848. Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. (2013). Tracking students continues to be an unproven strategy. Retrieved from http://greatlakescenter.org/docs/Think_Twice/TT_Burris_Tracking.htm Isaacs, M. L., & Duffus, L. R. (1995). Scholars’ club: A culture of achievement among minority students. American School Counsellor Association, 42, 204–210. Keeves, J. P., Hungi, N., & Darmawan, I. G. N. (2013). Effects of socioeconomic status, class size and ability grouping on science achievement. In S. Alagumalai, S. Burley, & J. P. Keeves (Eds.), Excellence in scholarship (pp. 19–42). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: SensePublishers. Kulik, C.-L. C., & Kulik, J. A., (1982). Effects of ability grouping on secondary school students: A meta-analysis of evaluation findings. American Educational Research Journal, 19, 415–428. Kulik, J. A., & Kulik, C.-L. C. (1992). Meta-analytic findings on grouping programs. Gifted Child Quarterly, 36, 73–77. Loveless, T. (1998). Making sense of the tracking and ability grouping debate. Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Loveless, T. (2009). Tracking and detracking: High achievers in Massachusetts middle schools. Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Loveless, T. (2014, December). Tracking in middle school: A surprising ally in pursuit of equity? Paper presented at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute Education for Upward Mobility Conference, Washington, DC. Available at http://edex.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/Loveless%20Paper-KLM%20%281%29.pdf Makel, M. C., Lee, S.-Y., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Putallaz, M. (2012). Changing the pond, not the fish: Following high-ability students across different educational environments. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, 778– 792. Marsh, H. W. (1994). Using the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 to evaluate theoretical models of self-concept: The Self-Description Questionnaire. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 439–456. Marsh, H. W., Chessor, D., Craven, R., & Roche, L. (1995). The effects of gifted and talented programs on academic self-concept: The big fish strikes again. American Educational Research Journal, 32, 285–319. Marsh, H. W., & Hau, K. T. (2003). Big-fish-little-pond effect on academic self-concept: A cross-cultural (26country) test of the negative effects of academically selective schools. American Psychologist, 58, 364–376. Neihart, M. (2007). The socioaffective impact of acceleration and ability grouping: Recommendations for best practice. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51, 330–341. Nomi, T. (2010). The effects of within-class ability grouping on academic achievement in early elementary years.
Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 3, 56–92. Oakes, J. (2005). Keeping track: How schools structure inequality (2nd ed.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Plucker, J. A. (2015). Common Core and America’s high-achieving students. Washington, DC: Fordham Institute. Retrieved from http://edexcellence.net/publications/common-core-and-americas-high-achieving-students Plucker, J. A., Makel, M. C., Hansen, J. A., & Muller, P. A. (2008). Achievement effects of the Cleveland voucher program on high ability elementary school students. Journal of School Choice, 1(4), 77–88. Plucker, J. A., Makel, M. C., & Rapp, K. E. (2008). The impact of charter schools on promoting high levels of mathematics achievement. Journal of School Choice, 1(4), 63–76. Plucker, J. A., Robinson, N. M., Greenspon, T. S., Feldhusen, J. F., McCoach, D. B., & Subotnik, R. F. (2004). It’s not how the pond makes you feel, but rather how high you can jump. The American Psychologist, 59, 268. Schmidt, W. H., & Burroughs, N. A. (2013, Spring). Springing to life: How greater educational equality could grow from the Common Core mathematics standards. American Educator, 3, 2–9. Slavin, R. E. (1987). Ability grouping and student achievement in elementary schools: A best-evidence synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 57, 293–336. Slavin, R. E. (1990). Achievement effects of ability grouping in secondary schools: A best-evidence synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 60, 471–499. Slavin, R. E., & Braddock, J. H., III. (1993). Ability grouping: On the wrong track. College Board Review, 168, 11– 17. Vogl, K., & Preckel, F. (2014). Full-time ability grouping of gifted students impacts on social self-concept and school-related attitudes. Gifted Child Quarterly, 58, 51–68. Zentall, S. S., Moon, S. M., Hall, A. M., & Grskovic, J. A. (2001). Learning and motivational characteristics of boys with AD/HD and/or giftedness. A multiple case study. Exceptional Children, 67, 499–519.
COUNSELING THE GIFTED STEVEN I. PFEIFFER AND JORDAN BURKO
INTRODUCTION Gifted students can and do encounter the full range of psychological problems that any child or adolescent struggles with in today’s fast-paced society. Gifted students experience anxiety; depression; loneliness; suicidal ideation; physical and sexual abuse; substance-related and addictive disorders; bullying and peer relation problems; anger management issues; posttraumatic stress disorder; thought disorder; ADHD; mood disorders; sleep disorders; disruptive and impulse control problems; sibling, parent, and family conflict; and learning disabilities that exact a toll on the child, family, and society (Costello, Foley, & Angold, 2006). Gifted students also experience negative life events and stress that impact their well-being and academic success (Peterson, Duncan, & Canady, 2009). Furthermore, problems that occur in childhood often show continuity with later psychopathology (Bufferd, Dougherty, Carlson, Rose, & Klein, 2012). For a majority of children with mental health problems, these problems go untreated (Kataoka, Zhang, & Wells, 2002). There is no research on the prevalence of gifted students with mental health problems; however, it is reasonable to assume that a significant number of these children do not receive counseling or other interventions. Also, there is no epidemiological data on the prevalence of disorders, subclinical problems, and negative life events among the gifted (Costello & Angold, 2000; Pfeiffer, 2014). Research indicates that it is unlikely that a single risk or causal factor fully explains the etiology for most disorders that any child or adolescent experiences (Sameroff, 2010). Four points bear mentioning. One, the incidence of mental health problems in the general population is significant. Growing up has never been an easy process, but today’s youth, including the gifted, face new and more challenging pressures. Two, experts estimate that one in five students today face significant mental health problems (Kessler et al., 2005; Pfeiffer, 2003). Three, there are developmental challenges that, if not unique, are more prevalent among the gifted because of their gift or because of how society and their peers view individuals of high intelligence (Assouline, Colangelo, & Heo, 2014; Piirto, 2007; Peterson et al., 2009; Robinson, 2008). And four, counseling can be strength-based and have as its aim prevention as well as intervention, and enhance subjective well-being, character strengths, and talent development, as well as target problematic behaviors, thoughts, and emotions (Mendaglio & Peterson, 2007; Pfeiffer & Reddy, 2001; Shoshani & Slone, 2012). Counseling can be helpful in addressing seven developmental challenges that many gifted students face (as reported in Chapter 1): 1. A significant mismatch with one’s educational environment (Pfeiffer & Stocking, 2000); 2. Time management, strategic planning, coping with anxiety, and balancing social and academic pursuits in any highly competitive field, such as music, science, engineering, dance, and athletics (Chua, 2014; Vitasari, Wahab, Othman, Herawan, & Sinnadurai, 2010); 3. Out-of-sync with nongifted peers, especially the profoundly gifted (Gross, 2004); 4. Negative or neurotic perfectionism and heightened sensitivities/overexcitabilities (Chan, 2003; Mendaglio, 2003; Schuler, 2000); 5. Achievement/affiliation conflicts and feeling unsupported and misunderstood, especially gifted females, minority group members, and those with alternative lifestyles/sexual orientations (Kerr et al., 2012); 6. Bullying and teasing; a serious issue for all students, including the gifted. Peterson and Ray (2006) reported that 67% of gifted eighth graders experienced bullying. Pfeiffer (2013) found that 72% of a gifted high school sample reported negative name-calling, almost double the figure reported by nongifted peers; and 7. Anxiety and indecision over early career planning (Sampson & Chasin, 2008).
EVIDENCE-BASED INTERVENTIONS An important question is whether a unique counseling approach is required in working with the gifted. Some authorities think that this is a basic maxim, that the gifted require a distinctive approach (e.g., Mendaglio, 2003; Mendaglio & Peterson, 2007). However, there is no published research supporting (or refuting, for that matter) this tenet. The literature that exists on this topic is solely opinion. Most authoritative publications in the school counseling and psychotherapy fields advocate the following four principles, which reflect scientific and empirical evidence-based practice (Pfeiffer, 2013): 1. No single theory explains all of what can go awry when gifted children develop problems; no single theory can explain all of what makes counseling the gifted effective. 2. Psychoeducational and psychotherapeutic interventions with the gifted, both in the schools and in the community, often benefit from some type of parental or family involvement. 3. There is considerable research on counseling process and outcome for most problems that a counselor might encounter in work with the gifted. This information is easily accessed on the web. The eMedicine Clinical Knowledge Database is free and continually updated with new reports and specific treatment protocols and modules (http://www.emedicine.com); the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association website includes reports and a database of evidence-based mental health and substance abuse treatments (http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/find.asp); the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology of the American Psychological Association supports a website on evidence-based mental health treatment for children and adolescents (https://www.clinicalchildpsychology.org). Unfortunately, most research studies do not include gifted cohorts in their samples. 4. Finally, the quality of the counseling relationship, often called the therapeutic alliance, is essential when counseling the gifted (Pfeiffer, 2014). Gifted students need to feel that the counselor understands and even feels, to a degree, what they are personally experiencing (Yermish, 2010). Trust is essential for counseling to be helpful.
MAJOR FINDINGS There has been a considerable amount written about counseling and the gifted (Assouline et al., 2014; Moon, 2002; Piirto, 2007). However, there is very little research on counseling process or outcome with the gifted (Peterson, 2006; Pfeiffer, 2013, 2014; Reis & Moon, 2002). In fact, a computer literature search of publications over the last 15 years identified only one research article by Wood (2010). This study investigated students’ perception of school counseling and their experience with different counseling strategies and modalities. The study examined which “best practices” were used in counseling gifted youth in the schools. The study found that gifted students believed that their time was well spent in counseling and that their therapist was empathetic and listened well. However, many gifted students also reported feeling misunderstood and half of the sample felt their concerns were dismissed by the therapist (Wood, 2010). There is no recent research that has investigated, with gifted samples, the counseling process, hypothesized change mechanisms, or counseling outcome. A number of authors have written about various aspects of counseling the gifted. One basic premise underlying these publications is that the gifted are a unique and misunderstood population. This literature suggests that counseling should be tailored to the specific needs and characteristics of the gifted (Mendaglio & Peterson, 2007; Pfeiffer, 2014). However, there is little specific guidance on how counselors might do this (Peterson & Moon, 2008). Although there are treatment manuals for a great many childhood psychiatric disorders (Southam-Gerow & Prinstein, 2014), there are none specifically tailored for the gifted. Further, there is no research validating the position that a unique therapeutic approach would be particularly efficacious (Peterson, 2006; Pfeiffer, 2014; Reis & Moon, 2002). We know much more about, and are on more solid ground when discussing, the unique needs and challenges facing gifted children and youth. Here there is research supporting the authoritative opinion of experts (Peterson et al., 2009; Piirto, 2007; Robinson, 2008). This volume includes this research. We do not yet have a comparative amount of research about what type of counseling approaches and techniques work best with which type of gifted student, and for which specific problems. Authorities in the gifted field have advocated for individual, group, and family counseling for prevention, early intervention, and treatment with the gifted (e.g., Assouline et al., 2014; Dansinger, 2010; Fornia & Wiggins Frame, 2001; Harder, 2012; Heath et al., 2008; Moon, 2002; Moon & Thomas, 2003; Peterson, 2008; Peterson & Lorimer, 2011, 2012; Silverman & Golon, 2008; VanTassel-Baska, Buckingham,
& Baska, 2009). There is considerable support in the general counseling research literature with nongifted samples for these and other interventions, including art and drama therapy, bibliotherapy, cinematherapy, parent education, and support groups (Kazdin & Weisz, 2003; Pfeiffer & Reddy, 2001).
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES There have been a handful of articles published on counseling the gifted from countries outside of the U.S. Authors from New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Jordan, Australia, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Malaysia, and France have contributed to the literature (Blackett & Hermansson, 2005; Chua, 2014; El-Zraigat, 2012; Gulbin, Oldenziel, Weissensteiner, & Gagné, 2010; Heller, 2005; Herskovits, 2000; Persson, 2005; Vitasari et al., 2010; Vrignaud, Bonora, & Dreux, 2005). Much of the international literature addresses counseling the gifted in the context of the educational system. Counseling services in regular schools and specialized gifted programs have been addressed. Focus on both gifted education and the need for counseling services in schools is gaining recognition in several countries (Blackett & Hermansson, 2005; El-Zraigat, 2012; Heller, 2005). The most consistent thread in the international literature is the need for more specialized and rigorous training of counselors who can effectively work with gifted students (Blackett & Hermansson, 2005; El-Zraigat, 2012; Heller, 2005; Vrignaud et al., 2005). A few authors, including Burton in Chapter 20 of this volume, suggest that career counseling of the gifted deserves greater attention (El-Zraigat, 2012; Heller, 2005). A unique problem noted by Jordanian authors is the need for cooperation between parents, counselors, and educators. However, the minimal involvement of parents of gifted students has made this difficult (El-Zraigat, 2012). Further, German authors indicate the need for addressing the psychosocial development of gifted children and adolescents in a system where the majority of the focus is on academic achievement (Heller, 2005). A qualitative study of various cultural groups found that values and expectations related to giftedness vary across cultures (Peterson, 1999), providing implications for utilizing multicultural counseling techniques when working with gifted children, and their families and teachers, from culturally diverse backgrounds. Other international researchers have focused on talent development in countries such as Finland, Singapore, and Australia (Chua, 2014; Gulbin et al., 2010). Chua (2014) investigated differences in talent development between dancers in Finland and Singapore and found that the success factors for the two cultural groups were similar. Gulbin and colleagues (2010) studied the developmental experiences of more than 600 athletes in Australia and determined that a synchrony of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors are necessary for one to rise to the level of elite athlete. The limited research on the counseling needs of gifted children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds is a major limitation in the field. Given that a majority of the available literature is not empirical research studies, more international research is needed to better understand the impact of diversity and multicultural factors in work with the gifted.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDIES There is a considerable gap in the research on counseling the gifted. Although the research literature is beginning to focus more on the twice-exceptional student (see Chapter 9 by Foley-Nicpon), no studies have researched the efficacy of specific interventions for this population. The gold standard in intervention research is randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which demonstrate the superior efficacy of one approach compared to some other approach or placebo (American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force, 2006; Pfeiffer, 2013). RCT studies would require dozens of children, all presenting with similar core problems and recruited because they all meet a preestablished criteria of being gifted. These clinical trials establish which treatments work best for gifted children with specific problems. Other research designs can certainly help the field build an empirical literature of evidence-based counseling approaches. Systematic case studies are useful when aggregated; single-case experimental designs can also contribute to evidence-based practice, although this approach has not yet been reported with the gifted (Shirk & Russell, 1996; Weisz & Kazdin, 2003). Ethnographic research can track the availability, utilization, and acceptance of different mental health interventions with the gifted. For example, Peterson and Lorimer (2011, 2012) reported on gifted students’ receptivity to a weekly group affective curriculum delivered by teachers. Qualitative research designs help generate research hypotheses and provide valuable insights into the subjective, lived experience of
gifted students in counseling. For example, Yermish (2010) explored the common experiences of a small number of gifted adults as they reflected back on their earlier counseling experiences. As mentioned earlier, there already is evidence for the efficacy of specific interventions addressing a wide range of child and adolescent disorders based on rigorous methodology (Kazdin & Weisz, 2003; Weisz, Hawley, & Doss, 2004). For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy is a proven treatment for child anxiety (Pfeiffer, 2013). A recent paper reported on the successful treatment of a gifted adolescent with borderline pathology using dialectical behavior therapy (Pfeiffer, 2014), another empirically validated treatment (Miller, Glinski, Woodberry, Mitchell, & Indik, 2002). Future research needs to confirm that these evidence-based interventions are equally effective with the gifted, and if not, then determine how to modify the interventions to maximize the benefits for the gifted. Of course, the gifted as a group vary tremendously across a wide range of factors that can and likely do impact counseling, including family, culture, religion, personal values, motivation and stage of change, world view, and level of giftedness. The gifted are an extremely heterogeneous group (Robinson, 2008); future research needs to consider the adage, “what works for which types of gifted.” For example, preventive group or family interventions may be an effective treatment for some, but not all gifted.
IMPLICATIONS Evidence-based counseling of the gifted is “the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of the gifted student’s unique characteristics, culture, and preferences” (Pfeiffer, 2013, p. 170). Effective counselors need to be knowledgeable about the gifted. Although all children and youth are similar, the gifted are distinctive in many important ways. Counselors need to be familiar with the best and most up-to-date clinically relevant research literature. Because there is not presently a research literature base specific to counseling the gifted, counselors need to rely on what they do know about what works in the general population. This is consistent with the ethical standards for school counselors (American School Counselor Association, 2010), school psychologists (National Association of School Psychologists, 2010), and other mental healthcare providers (American Psychological Association, 2002, 2010). Training programs that prepare school counselors and school psychologists presently do not address in their curriculum concerns specific to the gifted (Peterson & Wachter Morris, 2010; Robertson, Pfeiffer, & Taylor, 2011); this, hopefully, will soon change. Finally, clinical expertise is a component of evidence-based practice. To ensure that interventions are effective, counselors need to engage in continuous professional development and clinical supervision, monitor the effectiveness of their interventions, and be open to grow, learn anew, and modify their therapeutic style (Pfeiffer, 1986, 2013).
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CAREER AND LIFE PLANNING FOR GIFTED ADOLESCENTS MEREDITH J. GREENE BURTON
INTRODUCTION Career counseling is a systematic and comprehensive set of strategies and purposeful activities to promote career development. Career decisions are influenced by many factors including personality, culture, gender, personal values, motivation, opportunities, education, environment, and chance (Bright & Pryor, 2005; Cook, Heppner, & O’Brien, 2005; Schultheiss, 2007). Specialized, individualized, and developmentally appropriate educational opportunities have been shown to significantly enhance talent development (Lubinski & Benbow, 2010). Because careers evolve from talents, it is logical to assume that attention to career development is needed. As the field of gifted education focuses increasingly on talent development (Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Worrell, 2011), career and life planning has also assumed priority. A lifelong approach to career development acknowledges that career plans must be constantly revised to adapt to one’s own shifting life roles and circumstances in a rapidly changing world. Career counseling should help gifted students continuously reflect, restructure their beliefs, and deepen their personalities so that they can build a meaningful life (Greene, 2002). Unfortunately, career education tends to start only in high school and primarily addresses only academic needs—specifically, getting into college, as if college entry itself is an end career goal.
MAJOR FINDINGS Although many counseling needs of the gifted are documented (Peterson, 2006; Yoo & Moon, 2006), most school counselors have little time or expertise for comprehensive career counseling of gifted and talented students with unique needs (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], 2007; Peterson, 2006; Wood, 2010). Gifted students must often look for support from other significant adults, including parents/guardians, teachers, and mentors, to help figure out career plans. The support of others is beneficial as young gifted students begin to develop their identities, an important aspect of career development (Blustein & Noumair, 1996). Many gifted students experience psychosocial issues that may impact their identity development. These include: multipotentiality (Colangelo, 2002); dual exceptionalities (Assouline, Foley-Nicpon, & Huber, 2006); stress from the high expectations of others (Schultheiss, 2007); perfectionism (Schuler, 2000); high levels of creativity (Sternberg, 2000); and underachievement in school settings (Peterson, 2006). In addition, identity development may be affected by gender (Nelson & Smith, 2001) and culture, race, or ethnicity (Byars-Winston, 2010). For example, females with high career aspirations and reported obstacles to reaching their career goals tend to rely primarily on talking to friends and parents for career information (Kerr & Kurpius, 2004). If a career decision is made without sufficient emotional maturity or informed guidance, the adolescent may not consider further exploration of career possibilities or the long-range planning, persistence, and self-sacrifice needed to achieve the intended career goal. Career counseling for gifted students should begin early because of their earlier cognitive maturation yet, as noted above, it is very possible for them to graduate from high school with little real career education. Furthermore, these students will continue to need career counseling after college entry as their interests, abilities, and opportunities expand. Planning a career is not synonymous with choosing a college or an occupation. Curiosity,
persistence, flexibility, optimism, and risk-taking are as important to develop as domain-specific knowledge and skills in gifted and talented students. Career counseling must consider how environment and context can influence career decision making. An ecological approach (Cook et al., 2005; Schultheiss, 2007) acknowledges that along with individual factors such as interests, abilities, and perceptions, career decisions are influenced by societal and cultural norms and values, as well as a person’s multiple contexts of home and school. In many cases, typical counseling approaches fail to address common characteristics of giftedness and overlook the complexities of gifted students. For example, if schools rely solely on subject grades or achievement test scores, many gifted underachievers, the creatively gifted, and twice-exceptional students will not be identified as gifted and thus will be even less likely to receive appropriate career counseling. Overemphasis on school grades and standardized assessments also ignores the importance of the essential soft skills such as communication, ability to work in teams, and adaptability, necessary for current and future work realities (Wagner, 2008). Similarly, results of typical career assessment instruments do not reveal a multipotential student’s highest degree of talent (Sajjadi, Rejskind, & Shore, 2001), do not suggest ways to combine talent areas, and do not reflect the importance of global megatrends on careers and lifestyles. For instance, megatrends moving toward 2030 include increased globalization and urbanization, rapid technological advancements, China’s increasing dominance in multiple areas, and growing demands on natural resources (KPMG International, 2013; National Intelligence Council, 2012). Gifted students need to be aware of these megatrends so that they can match their talents and interests to growing career fields. The most recent cohort of students, often called Generation Z or Digital Natives, thinks differently about life and careers than do the adults in their lives (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005). This generation is constantly connected, learns better by discovery, and is able to shift attention rapidly from one task to another (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005; Wagner, 2008). In fact, one group of Australian gifted adolescents reported valuing interest and enjoyment over all other occupational values, including recognition from others, financial gain, valuing of high status occupations, multipotentiality, and perfectionism (Jung, 2013). Gifted students need support, guidance, understanding of self, and workplace knowledge to learn how all aspects of their lives come together as they begin to plan a career.
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES A major criticism of traditional career theories is that they overemphasize individual agency, ignore important contextual and cultural issues, or are based on presumptions and generalizations about cultures (Stead, 2004), even though there is tremendous variability within cultural groups. Counselors must consciously attend to culture-specific variables in the career development process to recognize and respect the diversity of students. Racial and ethnic identities are powerful factors in one’s life and, thus, in one’s career development (Byars-Winston, 2010). Some gifted students come from cultures in which personal choice is limited or nonexistent. National culture can play a role in career decision-making. For example, Asian cultures tend to be more collectivist, emphasizing family and national honor, tradition, and interdependence, whereas European and North American societies are more individualist, with emphasis on self-interest, independence, and uniqueness (Murphy, Gordon, & Anderson, 2004; Wang, 2009). Consequently, gifted adolescents from collectivist cultures are likely to be more significantly influenced by family members and cultural values to pursue a career deemed suitable (Wang, 2009). The need to balance career and family goals may be a higher priority for females of some cultural groups. Women across cultures of 48 different countries (Hill, Yang, Hawkins, & Ferris, 2004) perceived they would encounter more work-family conflicts than men. Minority students, in particular, may face occupational stereotypes, discriminatory hiring, restricted opportunities, and more limited career role models than students from the dominant culture (Byars-Winston, 2010). Perceptions of career barriers also relate to race and ethnicity, more than do career aspirations (Fouad & ByarsWinston, 2005). Byars-Winston (2006) found that African American students with a strong sense of racial identity may possess special coping strategies to deal with the barriers they perceive.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE STUDY Although gifted education research has shown a recent focus on talent development (Dai, Swanson, & Cheng,
2011), studies of career development and counseling have seldom been linked to talent. We must combine research fields to provide appropriate career counseling for gifted students, because planning a career is not an isolated or simple activity. The existing body of literature does not adequately address important areas such as the career development and counseling needs of gifted and talented students who are influenced by racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural variables; those who are twice-exceptional, disadvantaged, or highly creative; and those who underachieve in high school. Research in counseling psychology, multiculturalism, and career development needs to be meaningfully integrated into gifted education research to recognize the multifaceted and complex nature of career planning for gifted students.
IMPLICATIONS Career counseling must embrace the idea of a cyclical, rather than a linear, path of career development. A career cycle is fluid and lifelong, filled with compromises and unexpected opportunities. Broader definitions of career and career counseling are needed so that the emphasis is not on finding a college or a job but on building a fulfilling and successful life. Multiple career assessments should be used so that ability and interests are not the only factors measured (Kerr & Sodano, 2003). Traditional career inventories are not a good fit for students who are multiply and highly talented, possess spatial and mechanical strengths (Lubinksi & Benbow, 2010), high levels of creativity, or are twiceexceptional. Career development should encourage self-insight into life roles and obligations, personal agency, mentorships, and experiential learning to help students evaluate their options for building fulfilling lives. Career exploration should take into account global megatrends rather than focus on occupations that will be obsolete when the student is ready to enter the work world. Gifted students should not feel limited by existing careers, but instead should be encouraged to combine their multiple interests to derive careers that do not already exist or investigate how to monetize a passion (Wagner, 2011). Differentiated career and life counseling is essential if we accept that career decisions are influenced not only by a person’s personality, abilities, and interests, but also unique cultural, social, and environmental factors. Individualized counseling is of primary importance, given that personal identity factors play such a large role in career and life decisions. We cannot continue to hold school counselors solely responsible for career development and deem career development as distinctly separate from personal and academic development. It is imperative that teachers and parents be offered training in career education for gifted adolescents because they are the adults in the best positions to get to know individual students’ interests, values, passions, pressures, and challenges (Watters, 2010). Career development should be started well before high school (Pfeiffer, 2009). Gifted students need time to explore their many interests and abilities and to develop short- and long-term career goals. Early support from significant adults, exposure to diverse enriching activities, and nurturing of interests and talents are crucial to students’ career paths.
CONCLUSION The lifespan approach to career counseling acknowledges that occupational interests, competencies, and preferences may indeed change over time, yet many gifted and talented adolescents continue to receive little career education. It is time to equip our diverse gifted and talented population with a series of appropriate, culturally responsive career development services so that they are better prepared to make important career and life decisions.
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PROMOTING OPTIMAL MINDSETS AMONG GIFTED CHILDREN DEL SIEGLE AND SUSAN DULONG LANGLEY
INTRODUCTION Beliefs and attitudes regulate behaviors. Whether or not students are aware of their beliefs, those beliefs can still influence what students seek and whether they are able to obtain it (Dweck, 2006). One belief system that has drawn considerable attention from educators in the past two decades is Carol Dweck’s (2012) mindset theory. According to the theory, individuals who believe intelligence is a set trait hold an entity view of intelligence or fixed mindset, and those who believe intelligence can be developed hold an incremental view of intelligence or growth mindset (Dweck, 2012). Not only do those who hold a fixed mindset tend to believe abilities are set and do not change, but they are often concerned about looking smart to others and avoiding mistakes that make them look foolish. They may avoid challenges for which successful outcomes are questionable. In other words, challenges, with their risk of failure, are often viewed as threats to the individual’s perceived ability. As Dweck (1999) has noted, “We have … seen that entity theorists’ concerns about looking smart can prevent them from seeking learning opportunities, even ones that could be critical to performing well in the future” (p. 23). Conversely, individuals with a growth mindset tend to see challenges as opportunities to learn new things and become smarter. Therefore, a growth mindset appears preferable for reaching high levels of achievement. Researchers are only beginning to explore Dweck’s theory as it relates to the field of gifted and talented education. As Dweck (2012) has noted, individuals do not necessarily need to believe that everyone has the same intelligence or that anyone can accomplish anything; however, they must “believe that everyone has the potential to become smarter than they are now” (p. 8). Dweck cautioned educators of the gifted to carefully consider how they portray giftedness to students and how they encourage students who excel. Educators and parents can share theories of giftedness such as Gagné’s (2005) Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent and Renzulli’s (2005) Three Ring Conception of Giftedness with students. These fit well with mindset theory. Both theories help students view giftedness as a developmental process—the cornerstone of a growth mindset. Simply identifying students as gifted may influence their mindset. Snyder, Barger, Wormington, SchwartzBloom, and Linnenbrink-Garcia (2013) found that high-ability college students who were identified as gifted at any past point were more likely to favor an entity belief than similar students who had not been identified as gifted. However, Snyder, Malin, Dent, and Linnenbrink-Garcia (2014) noted that “… a gifted label does not automatically connote an entity message, and it may be possible to promote a believable, effort-focused message about giftedness” (p. 238). It is the praise of natural intelligence that promotes a fixed mindset and creates a danger of subsequent lower achievement. This is due to a reluctance to take risks and pursue higher levels of challenge (Mueller & Dweck, 1998). Murphy and Dweck (2010) reported that individuals will adopt the mindset that they perceive is prevalent within an organization in which they operate. Accordingly, gifted students who perceive that their teachers or schools hold an entity theory of intelligence that views intelligence as set will more likely display behaviors associated with that entity theory, such as bragging about a test score or their IQ. Therefore, the ways in which parents and teachers talk with students about their selection for gifted services and the mindsets parents and teachers hold, as well as the ways they encourage students who excel, contribute to students’ mindsets (Siegle, 2013). A fixed mindset has been associated with unhealthy perfectionism (Chan, 2012; Eum & Rice, 2011). It also has been associated with extrinsic motivation (Al-Dhamit & Kreishan, 2013), which has also been related to
underachievement in gifted middle school students (Moore, 2006). Conversely, intrinsic motivation has been associated with mastery goal orientation with gifted high school students (Al-Dhamit & Kreishan, 2013). Mastery goal orientation is related to a growth mindset.
MAJOR FINDINGS MINDSETS MATTER Dweck (1999) demonstrated that students who believe abilities can be developed and are not fixed are more likely to attempt challenging tasks and persevere through difficulties than students who believe abilities are innate and fixed. According to Dweck, because students who have a fixed mindset approach new situations as opportunities to show what they know, they may view any mistakes as evidence that they lack ability. Gifted students with a fixed theory of intelligence may not wish to risk their “giftedness” by performing poorly in competitive situations or on difficult tasks. For them, not attempting challenging tasks is less risky than performing and failing to meet expectations. For some, this means not completing assignments or studying for tests. For others, it means procrastinating and then hiding behind statements such as “I could have done better if I had more time” (Siegle, 2013). These self-protective and avoidance behaviors, which are used to sidestep revealing what they perceive as a lack of ability, even appear in very young children (Clinkenbeard, 2012a; 2012b).
ABILITY AND EFFORT Students with a fixed mindset do not associate effort with intelligence (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007), and gifted students holding a fixed theory of intelligence may not see effort as contributing to their achievement. In a study of more than 4,000 middle school students, Siegle and Reis (1998) found that teachers viewed gifted students’ ability and effort as equally related to the quality of work produced by students; however, the gifted students viewed their ability as more related to the quality of their work than their effort. The researchers suggested that gifted students may have believed success was more contingent on their natural ability than the effort they put forth, or these students may simply have reported they were not being challenged, and therefore, did not need to work hard to produce quality work. Both of these explanations reflect an unhealthy fixed mindset. Gifted students may be in danger of developing a fixed mindset when the curriculum is too easy, and they are therefore not challenged to work hard. Fredricks, Alfeld, and Eccles (2010) interviewed gifted high school and college youth, who reported being bored in school; these students were primarily motivated to demonstrate their ability though grades and maintaining an image of success, which are behaviors associated with a fixed mindset. Differences in the mindsets of gifted achievers and underachievers have been observed. Siegle, Rubenstein, Pollard, and Romey (2010) noted that gifted university freshman were able to appreciate the role that ability played in high performance without being paralyzed by it and developing a fixed mindset. They suggested that gifted achievers are capable of appreciating their abilities without allowing this perception to hamper their achievement, while gifted underachievers may view ability as a possible limiting factor in their success. Perceptions of the malleability of weaknesses, as well as strengths, are important. Ziegler and Stoeger (2010) found that highly intelligent students who believed they could modify their ability in areas of weakness were more confident, believed in their knack to control the situation, and performed at high scholastic achievement levels. Siegle et al. (2010) suggested: Although some researchers have cautioned against recognizing student ability at the peril of diminishing the importance of effort, educators and parents should not be fearful of discussing the role ability plays in gifted students’ performances, while also emphasizing the importance of hard work and perseverance. (p. 92) In other words, recognizing students’ ability is not detrimental when students understand that effort contributes to that ability. Interestingly, García-Cepero and McCoach (2009) did not find that teachers of the gifted favored fixed or malleable views of intelligence. The mean rating on their mindset measure fell near the middle of the scale between fixed and malleable, though with a large standard deviation resulting from responses that varied greatly within the sample. The researchers also reported that teachers and professors who endorse practical abilities and inter/intrapersonal skills as attributes of intelligence were more likely to view intelligence as malleable.
CHANGING MINDSETS Aronson and Juarez (2012) suggested that having an attitude and actually using it may be different matters. They advise that whether students believe intelligence is malleable or fixed predicts very little about individuals’ performance on many tests. It appears students’ attitudes toward intelligence must be activated into a mindset. Believing that growth is possible is the key to higher achievement. Extensive research by Dweck (2012) and others has shown that intensive interventions can activate attitudes and actually lift grades, test scores, and engagement. According to Aronson and Juarez (2012), these interventions probably work because they turn attitudes into growth mindsets upon which individuals act. Interventions such as teaching students about the elasticity of the brain and how it works (Blackwell et al., 2007; Dweck, 2012) and research on cognitive neuroscience and developing intelligence (Halpern et al., 2007) have promoted a growth mindset. Further, involving students in learning stories (Pride, 2014) and writing pen-pal letters promoting a malleable view of intelligence (Aronson, Fried, & Good, 2002) may increase a growth mindset. Dweck’s Brainology program, an online interactive program in which middle school students learn about how the brain works, also encourages a growth mindset (Dweck, 2012); however, some have cautioned that the results may not be sustained (Donohoe, Topping, & Hannah, 2013).
MULTICULTURAL DIFFERENCES If competence is a culturally determined factor, as some have proposed (Alexander & Schnick, 2008), is mindset similarly determined? In a blog post, Sung (2014) described the difference Berkeley High School junior Ming Horn witnessed between teaching computer coding to Cambodian orphans and to her U.S. classmates. Returning from a 2014 mission to teach code to teens at an orphanage in Cambodia, Horn reflected on her initial concern of needing to be “comfortable with the fact that they [the orphans] would see me make mistakes” (Sung, 2014, para. 11). However, Horn discovered that unlike her U.S. classmates, the Cambodian orphans not only accepted her mistakes, they were also comfortable making their own mistakes and asking for help. What surprised her most about teaching code to the students was that everyone was comfortable making mistakes and asking for help. That was in contrast to what Horn experienced in the United States, where her peers were more reluctant to show those vulnerabilities. (Sung, 2014, para. 11) Horn’s observation echoes a general pattern of differences between a fixed mindset in the West and growth mindset in the East. Views of gifted students differ from country to country on this dimension (Ziegler & Stoeger, 2010); the West’s individualistic focus is an intrapersonal frame for thoughts, actions, and feelings, while many Eastern countries’ collectivistic focus is an interpersonal one (Chang et al., 2011). Confucian philosophy emphasizes the process of perfecting one’s self (Gelfand, Erez, & Aycan, 2007) and views intelligence as incremental, not fixed (Cho, 2010), both of which contribute to the mindset of growing intelligence and doing so in support of the community at large. For example, Chinese gifted students are more likely to have adaptive perfectionism rather than maladaptive perfectionism (Fong & Yuen, 2014). Hepper, Sedikides, and Cai (2013) posited that although humans from both individual and collectivistic cultures are motivated to enhance and protect their views of self, they do so according to motives that differ across cultures. Gelfand and colleagues (2007) believed that although achievement motivation is stronger in individualistic cultures, the meaning of achievement varies. For example, the Western view of competency as quick, cognitive processing and skilled problem solving is individualistic, whereas the Eastern view of competency, as what is achieved through relationships and collaboration (Alexander & Schnick, 2008), is collectivist. Global influence may account for unexpected findings in an increasingly connected world. José and Bellamy (2012) found that Chinese children displayed higher levels of persistence than Japanese children, causing them to wonder if it was the result of the West’s stronger presence and influence in Japan than in China.
LIMITATIONS OF THE RESEARCH AND PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE RESEARCH Four key issues still remain unclear from the research. First, although a number of strategies increase a growth
mindset, we have little evidence that shifts in mindset are maintained over time (Blackwell et al., 2007). Can we really change students’ mindsets in ways that persevere? Second, Dweck and Leggett set the stage for mindset theory with their classic 1988 article connecting the foundations of the theory with goal orientation. Further research is needed into the relationship between mindsets and performance and mastery goal orientations. Many performance-oriented individuals are successful. Under what conditions does a fixed mindset become debilitating? Third, how do mindsets interact with self-regulation? Burnette, Ernest, VanEpps, Pollack, and Finkel (2012) noted that The associations of implicit [fixed] theories with self-regulation are not straightforward and that perhaps the literature would be better served by asking when and how implicit theories are consequential for selfregulation rather than asking if incremental theories are generally beneficial. (p. 680) Finally, Dweck’s work is clear about the danger of calling students smart. Is the gifted label equally dangerous in promoting a fixed mindset? The gifted label that some relish may be detrimental to nurturing a growth mindset.
IMPLICATIONS Students need to hear the message that effort increases their ability. Discussing the developmental nature of giftedness and the malleability of the brain with students helps to promote this message. Equally important is the mindset parents and teachers hold, as well as the ways they encourage students to excel. The key is to separate the recognition of the talent from the attribution for how the talent came to fruition. Challenging curriculum supports growth mindsets. When work is not challenging, gifted students earn good grades without putting forth substantial effort. Researchers and practitioners have speculated on the possible negative effects of being able to earn high grades with limited effort, and a fixed mindset may be one of them. A challenging curriculum helps students learn to recover from setbacks and understand the importance of effort. Having a mindset that does not foster coping with setbacks inhibits the movement from ability to eminence (Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, & Worrell, 2011).
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WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED AND WHAT SHOULD WE DO NEXT? MAUREEN NEIHART, STEVEN I. PFEIFFER, AND TRACY L. CROSS Dozens of findings and recommendations are reported in the preceding chapters. What stands out among them? To synthesize the major findings and recommendations from the 21 topics covered in the preceding chapters, we followed a flexible but systematic approach. We began by rereading all of the chapters and recording all of the main ideas. Then we read through that summary a couple of times looking for the themes or trends that ran through many of the chapters. We found seven quite easily and consolidated them to four. Although this secondary analysis is not without flaws, our process has enhanced our confidence about what we should stress here. The four broad themes that stand out across the empirical literature are these: ■ The importance of challenge and a “match” with the environment for optimal social and emotional adjustment. ■ The importance of culture and context in understanding social and emotional development. ■ The nonlinearity and dynamism of many social or emotional phenomena, and related to this, the need to better understand mediators and moderators of these phenomena. ■ The growing convergence of research on psychosocial variables in talent development with the research on the social and emotional development of gifted children. We elaborate upon all of these in this final chapter. We begin with a brief synopsis of central conclusions regarding what we have learned and where the gaps in our learning are, followed by a brief discussion of each of the four broad themes. We conclude the chapter with recommendations for next steps.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? Our synthesis of the 21 chapters in this book found strong empirical support for the following conclusions: ■ The gifted are a different/unique population in many important ways. ■ There are developmental and socioemotional challenges that, if not unique, are more prevalent among the gifted because of their ability or because of how society and their peers view individuals of high ability. ■ Many high creatives manage to be both prolific and stable. ■ Gifted children are not more likely to be socially inept. ■ Gifted boys and girls are more alike than they are different. There is no clear divide between genders. ■ Research on perfectionism has moved from a focus on types of perfectionism to a focus on the core factors of positive strivings and evaluative concerns. Positive strivings correlate with positive outcomes while evaluative concerns correlate with negative outcomes. ■ Gifted children’s asynchronous development can present challenges for social relationships. This is especially true for twice-exceptional and highly gifted children who usually experience the greatest degrees of asynchrony. ■ Bullying and teasing and cyberbullying are a serious problem for all students, including the gifted. ■ Rates of depression are similar in gifted and nongifted populations. ■ It is unknown whether the prevalence rate of completed or attempted suicidal behavior is different for gifted versus the general population.
■ Underachievement can correspond with a broad range of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental issues, including depression, anxiety, perfectionism, anger, low self-esteem, maladaptive strategies, social immaturity and unrecognized learning deficits, peer pressure, family dynamics, low SES, teaching style, and curriculum. ■ The curriculum in professional training programs that prepare school counselors and school psychologists do not address concerns specific to the gifted. ■ Denial of provisions for challenge at school can have a negative, cyclical effect on twice-exceptional students by impacting their motivation and self-concept. ■ Students who hold a growth mindset are more likely to attempt challenging tasks and persevere through difficulties than students who hold a fixed mindset. Intensive interventions can promote growth mindsets in students, at least in the short term. Further research is needed to determine how sustainable these changes are. ■ The highest levels of achievement are typically the result of nonintellectual factors, especially perseverance. ■ The psychosocial variables associated with talent development can be taught and systematically strengthened. These include growth mindsets, positive emotion, rest routines, and strategies for maintaining anxiety and confidence at optimal levels, among others. ■ Children manifest optimal motivation for learning when their learning contexts stress mastery and progress goals over performance goals. When performance goals are emphasized, positive achievement behaviors significantly decline.
GAPS IN THE RESEARCH This review also highlighted several gaps in our current understanding of gifted children’s social and emotional development. We know little, for example, about: ■ the prevalence of gifted students with mental health problems; ■ the prevalence of different disorders, subclinical problems, and/or negative life events among the gifted; ■ the role of empathy and morality in gifted students’ peer relationships; ■ the psychosocial functioning of high-ability children from diverse cultures or from underrepresented students, including those in lower SES groups; ■ the psychosocial functioning of children gifted in nonacademic domains; ■ the efficacy and effectiveness of many of the interventions recommended for gifted children’s social and emotional development; and ■ the long-term impact of gifted programs in terms of social-emotional development and “soft” but important distal outcomes such as character strengths, emotional intelligence, empathy, and concern for the welfare of others. In addition, many authors noted similar weaknesses in designs and methodologies used in gifted education research. These include the use of small, convenience samples and samples that do not include historically underrepresented gifted students and the use of measures that lack high reliability, validity, or diagnostic precision. When recommendations are made in the literature, there is typically little evaluation of the effectiveness of those interventions.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CHALLENGE AND FIT The evidence continues to point to lack of challenge in the curriculum as a potential risk factor for social or emotional difficulties in gifted children. A poor fit between a child’s developmental needs and the learning environment can compromise social and emotional functioning. We see this relationship underscored in the literature on talent development as well. Many authors in the preceding pages highlighted the importance of this relationship in one way or another. For example, Wiley (Chapter 1) noted that well-being is often determined by the successful resolution of common developmental tasks. A lack of challenge in the curriculum may compromise this resolution, causing adjustment difficulties. A good fit facilitates the achievement of the developmental tasks essential for well-being. Similarly, Foley-Nicpon (Chapter 9) concluded that twice-exceptional students’ academic success is tied to their social and emotional development. Achieving the developmental tasks necessary to develop a sense of competence,
a positive outlook, a growth mindset, and to maintain motivation is particularly difficult for these students. Teachers should maintain high expectations for their performance and adopt a strengths-based approach in their learning and instruction. Teachers are also cautioned that early negative experiences in school may erode the confidence they need to persevere. Liem and Chua (Chapter 16) stressed the importance of fit, particularly with regard to goal type, pace of instruction, and task value. They mentioned the importance of high but flexible expectations and the value of stressing effort and mastery goals over performance goals. Finally, Siegle and Langley (Chapter 21) commented on the potential risks associated with classroom work that is too easy, noting that work that requires little to no effort may encourage a fixed mindset because children do not have the opportunity to learn the causal relationship between effort and outcome. The importance of a good match between a child’s developmental needs and the learning environment is not new. It was one of the major findings of the comprehensive review reported in the first edition in 2002. What is added more than 10 years later is our growing understanding of the nuances in fit—the ways in which a good match between expectations, grouping arrangements, beliefs, pacing, and other factors support both academic and social and emotional outcomes for gifted children. Future research will need to continue to explore variables that moderate and mediate the social and emotional development of gifted children.
CULTURE AND CONTEXT MATTER The field has been paying attention to individual differences among gifted children since the 1980s, but we have learned much more about the ways in which cultural and contextual factors influence social and emotional development in the past decade. The connections among culture, contexts, and social and emotional development should not surprise us given that conceptions of self, emotion, well-being, etc., are socially constructed through experiences with others and by reflection on those experiences. Investigations into the role of cultural and contextual factors should be a growing edge of research in our field (Persson, 2012). Wiley (Chapter 1) said that “research that ignores cultural effects on self-concept and motivation can distort developmental understanding and conclusions drawn for practice.” While culture refers to the shared characteristics, values, and beliefs of a particular group of people, context refers to the characteristics of an event or situation. Culture is reflected in our parenting, in the structure and processes of schooling, in our classroom environments, and in our interpretations of children’s behavior and emotion. We should not attempt to understand children’s development separate from their culture. It is also not appropriate to generalize research findings from one culture to another, although that is commonly done. Much research has been conducted under the assumption that psychological processes are universal, but varying results across cultures tell us that is not true (e.g., Marcus & Kitayama, 1991; Tsai, Knutson, & Fung, 2006; Tsai & Lau, 2013). We know, for example, that there are significant differences between the self-constructions of individuals raised in collectivist (or interdependent) societies and those raised in individualistic (or independent) societies. It is important to pay attention to self-constructions because they directly shape cognition and emotion. We asked our authors to discuss any noteworthy variations that have been observed across cultural groups or across contexts in their reviews of the research. We highlight a few of their findings here. The nature of children’s friendships, the meaning of gender, the value of achievement, etc., are all shaped by culture and context. For example, in many contexts in America, high ability is an advantage at younger ages, but becomes more of a social disadvantage during adolescence. But there are some contexts in which high ability is nearly always an advantage and rarely a social disadvantage. Similarly, competition and social comparisons do not have similar impact in different contexts. Although some research suggests that competitiveness can lead to social rejection for some talented students, for others, it has no social impact at all. Even our interpretations of research findings are influenced by the cultural and contextual lens we wear. For example, it is easy for many of us to appreciate that high academic ability can be socially stigmatizing for some adolescents, but people with a collectivist orientation may not be able to imagine a world in which high achievement exacts a social price. We especially need to get beyond conceptions of culture as defined by race and consider other characteristics that define cultural groups. Liem and Chua (Chapter 16) noted that motivation changes in different contexts and conditions, which means that we need to study motivation across these circumstances. Neihart (Chapter 13) similarly explained that although there is consistency in many of the psychosocial variables associated with talent development across cultures and contexts, there are some important distinctions regarding emotion and cognition in collectivist or interdependent societies. Low arousal affect seems to be more desirable among some East Asians, for example, while high arousal affect is more typically desirable among Americans and Western Europeans (Tsai, 2007; Tsai et al., 2006). Also, there is growing evidence that negative self-talk and even pessimism may play an adaptive role in the well-being of
East Asians (Chang & Asakawa, 2003; Peters & Williams, 2006). In her discussion of career and life planning with the gifted, Burton (Chapter 20) noted that career decisions are also influenced by contextual and cultural factors that greatly impact decision making and she argued for a conscious and deliberate effort to pay attention to these variables. As an example, she observed that in many collectivist or interdependent societies, decision making is a group process. Young people carefully consider the perspectives, values, feelings, and interests of their extended family members when making decisions about their life plans. Therefore, career counseling, like many other interventions, must be differentiated to account for culture and context. Domain is increasingly understood as a contextual factor that influences the dynamic relationships among other variables we are interested in. Many authors recommended that future research consider giftedness as domainspecific rather than global and that future research attend to domain-specific variables instead of global ones. Comparative studies across cultures and contexts are needed to help us understand those contextual elements that interfere or encourage talent development across various domains. Finally, Siegle and Langley (Chapter 21) mention contextual and cultural differences in views of self that shape thinking and feeling. They also argue for research that examines the conditions that support or interfere with mindsets that inhibit or promote achievement.
NONLINEAR AND DYNAMIC PROCESSES Yet another theme observed across many chapters is the nonlinear and dynamic nature of many of the phenomena in which the field is interested. Relationships and processes are complex and interconnected and it is often difficult to tease apart the roles of all the variables. For instance, Wiley (Chapter 1) and Pfeiffer and Burko (Chapter 19) noted that there are a great many factors that impact well-being and we often ignore some essential ones. Ability and talent are just two of many variables. We will never be able to completely separate some variables (e.g., nature and nurture), but we can design research studies that will investigate factors that mediate or moderate various outcomes and children. An example is the common characteristic of asynchrony, which can elicit significant qualitatively different developmental experiences as children encounter home, school, or community environments. Similarly, Tan, Tan, and Surendran (Chapter 8) observed that a big change in the last 15 years in underachievement research has been the transition from linear to multiple pathways to explain achievement. This transition is evident in other phenomena we are interested as well (e.g., perfectionism, bullying, and creativity). Nonlinearity is the reason underachievement is difficult to understand and study, because multiple different factors can contribute to it. Interpersonal, intrapersonal, and environmental factors can each play a role. Also, underachievement behavior is very malleable and can change hour by hour or day by day, depending on the context. This malleability is good news because it suggests that underachievement also can be easily influenced. It also points to future research designs that tease apart the mediating effects of various contextual and intrapersonal factors. In the same vein, we have known for many years now that giftedness alone does not heighten vulnerability. Rather, as Foley-Nicpon (Chapter 9) points out, giftedness adds complexity to an individual. It is a variable that impacts children’s social and emotional development. Gifted children with a diagnosis tend to have more complex psychosocial presentations than do children without a diagnosis. Future research will need to focus on the interplay of these processes over time, and the ways in which giftedness, disability, and contextual factors influence one another, if we hope to design effective interventions. Other authors also reported on nonlinear, dynamic models for the phenomena they described. For example, Garces-Bacsal (Chapter 10) recommended nonlinear, dynamic models to explain what appears to be a curvilinear relationship between high creative ability and psychological functioning. She reported on a shared vulnerability model that links three factors to creativity and psychopathology: reduced latent inhibition, novelty seeking, and hyper connectivity. Peterson (Chapter 11) reported that the dynamics of bullying among gifted children are also nonlinear. She stressed the need to investigate what experiences moderate or mediate different aspects of its development if we want to intervene effectively. Lee (Chapter 15) described the nonlinear, dynamic roles that teachers and mentors play in talent development. Teachers identify potential, instill positive beliefs and high expectations, and teach specific skill mastery and expertise to guide gifted students to professional levels of achievement. Mentors and outside-of-school programs also contribute to children’s talent development through the provision of advanced contact and opportunities to work with like-minded peers. They may provide the explicit instruction students need to develop skills to cope with criticism, setbacks, and disappointments. Finally, Plucker and Dilley (Chapter 18) stressed how difficult it is to isolate the impact of any one particular instructional strategy.
They argued for future research that compares curricular or instructional conditions in which ability grouping may be beneficial or less than beneficial. Our authors seem to be arguing for greater emphasis on investigations of moderators and mediators in future research (Muller, Judd, & Yzerbyt, 2005). Studies are needed that examine the interactions among variables over time to better understand gifted children’s social and emotional development. A moderator tells us under what conditions a particular result can be expected. It influences the strength of a relationship between two or more other variables. A mediator tells us how and why certain effects occur. It explains the psychological process that creates a relationship among other factors. Beliefs, like those that Siegle and Langley discuss in Chapter 21 are an example of mediators. Emotion is another. Zenasni, Botella, and Barbot reported on its important mediating role in creative achievement in Chapter 6.
PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF TALENT DEVELOPMENT AND GIFTED EDUCATION As the section on talent development highlighted, there is a great deal we can learn from the vast literatures that examine the role of psychosocial variables in talent development. Talent development research tends to move in more of a positive psychological direction while the field of gifted education has mostly dealt with ameliorative concerns in the social and emotional domains. Going forward, we believe we will see more convergence between research on psychosocial variables in talent development and research on the social and emotional functioning of gifted children. Talent development studies tell us that the impact of many psychosocial variables are domain specific, not global. This finding underscores the earlier recommendation to consider domain as a contextual factor when studying the social and emotional development of gifted children. It is also clear from the talent development research that psychosocial variables can be taught and systematically strengthened, suggesting that such variables could be a focus of targeted interventions to enhance gifted children’s development and resilience. For example, we know that performance deteriorates when anxiety levels are either above or below an optimal threshold. Therefore, we could help gifted children identify their individual, domain-specific thresholds for anxiety and teach to mastery some cognitive and behavioral strategies for keeping their anxiety within their optimal zone. Strategies such as progressive relaxation, gradual exposure, and diaphragmatic breathing are well-established for their effectiveness. We also know from numerous performance studies that sleep is critical to well-being and performance. Sleep duration plays an important role in regulating emotional and cognitive functioning and shorter sleep durations are associated with an increased level of negative emotions and cognitive impairment. Several national studies report that many American teenagers are chronically sleep deprived (Eaton et al., 2007). Targeting consistent rest routines for intervention could potentially yield significant social, emotional, and cognitive benefits for many youth.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A FUTURE RESEARCH AGENDA AND NEXT STEPS The reviews of research over the past 15 years indicate the field has made strong gains in some areas and little to no progress in others. We know a great deal more, for example, about the social and emotional development of twice-exceptional children, about the complex interplay of factors involved in motivation, underachievement, highability grouping, and psychosocial aspects of talent development. But several of the laments made at the conclusion of the first edition in 2002 are echoed again on these pages in 2015. Our reviewers identified four needs for research: ■ need for longitudinal research that examines developmental processes; ■ need for investigations into moderators and mediators to examine more closely the direction and/or strength of relationships, how and why certain effects occur, and the dynamic relationships among many variables; ■ need for causal comparative studies to determine what makes a real difference; and ■ need for much larger and more diverse samples. These four needs were also identified in 2002, suggesting that the field needs to seriously reevaluate its research strategies. For example, in 2002, Robinson, Reis, Neihart, and Moon wrote, “Many more studies should include a minimum of three groups: a target gifted group, a comparison group of average ability matched to them by
chronological age, and an older comparison group of average ability matched by mental age” (p. 285). In other words, research with comparison groups was urged in 2002, but is still sorely lacking today. The lack of comparison groups in research samples is a significant, ongoing weakness that makes it impossible to evaluate differentiated outcomes for children.
HOW MIGHT WE GET THERE? There is wide agreement among our contributors that what is needed going forward are prospective, longitudinal studies, but securing monies to fund such efforts seems unlikely if the research is limited to gifted children. Perhaps a strategy to consider is to study a large cohort of children of varying ability levels, and ensure that there is a subsample of gifted children within it for comparison. This strategy could also address our authors’ recommendations for causal comparative studies in which outcomes of supports or interventions are compared for samples of gifted and typically developing children to validate their effectiveness. Similarly, researchers who focus exclusively on high-ability or high-performing students may need to collaborate with investigators “across campus” who work with typically developing or average populations. Because few funds are being directed to high-ability students, collaboration with those who investigate similar constructs and issues (e.g., bullying, underachievement, low motivation, career planning) may be a way to link-in with federal funding dollars. The journals in the field could play a strong role influencing future research through calls for special issues and especially through their acceptance and rejection practices. If studies with small, poorly defined samples and no comparison groups are not published, researchers will respond accordingly. Also needed are studies utilizing data analytic techniques that will help us understand the nuances of the dynamic processes in the phenomena we wish to understand. Rigorous qualitative research, for example, will be needed to address many of the subtleties we are interested in. Factor analysis can summarize relationships among many variables into a manageable, smaller set of factors and is often effective to explore or confirm construct measurement. Q-technique factor analysis is particularly suited for the intensive study of variables across a small number of unique individuals, such as the gifted. Meta-analyses examine results across numerous independent studies that emphasize effect size (the size of the difference in outcomes) and confidence intervals rather than making dichotomous statistical decisions. They are relatively rare in research on the gifted, with the exceptions of grade acceleration research and ability grouping, but might be useful in helping us to evaluate how much impact an intervention or strategy has on outcomes. However, it is arguable how helpful meta-analyses would be with past research given that meta-analyses assume certain consistencies that are not characteristic of our field. Just the variation in definitions of giftedness alone, for example, has led to such varied means of measuring them that the meta-analyses end up including apples and oranges. Finally, structural equation modeling (SEM) has the advantage that it evaluates direct and indirect effects on either observed or latent variables, but it requires sample sizes of at least 200 or more to examine complex models. Until a future time when the nuanced, dynamic relationships among development, well-being, achievement, and other variables we are interested in are more evident, there are two things we can do to support the healthy social and emotional development of gifted children. At a minimum, we must do all that we can to ensure that they have challenge in the curriculum—not just for a few hours a week, but every day—and opportunities to work with others with similar ability and interests. These are the pillars of well-being for gifted children. No classroom strategies, counseling supports, or affective activities can substitute for their lack. Ensuring access to work that they are ready for but have not yet mastered as well as to true peers is a great challenge in the American education system especially. However, it is a challenge that we must not back down from if we wish to see equal opportunity for health and happiness for all children.
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ABOUT THE EDITORS Maureen Neihart, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical child psychologist. She is associate professor and former Head of Psychological Studies and the Office of Academic Quality Management at the National Institute of Education at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She is a former member of the board of directors of the National Association for Gifted Children and serves on the editorial boards of several journals in gifted education and psychology. Her research interests include the social and emotional development of gifted children, psychological intervention for children with special needs, mobile behavioral health, and the psychology of high performance. Steven I. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., is a professor at Florida State University, where he also serves as Director of Clinical Training. Previously he was Executive Director of Duke University’s gifted program, TIP, and before that, Executive Director of the Devereux Institute of Clinical Training and Research. He has authored more than 150 books, monographs, book chapters, and articles in the areas of children’s mental health and the gifted. He is lead author of the Gifted Rating Scales, Serving the Gifted, and Essentials of Gifted Assessment. He has a limited clinical practice where he consults and counsels gifted children and their families. Tracy L. Cross, Ph.D., is the Jody and Layton Smith Professor of Psychology and Gifted Education and the Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Education at William & Mary. He has published more than 150 articles, book chapters, and columns; made more than 200 presentations at conferences; and published nine books. He has received the Distinguished Service Award from CEC-TAG and the National Association for Gifted Children, Distinguished Scholar Award from NAGC, and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mensa Education and Research Foundation. He has edited seven journals and is the editor of the Journal for the Education of the Gifted. He served as president of TAG and is the past president of NAGC.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS Lori Andersen, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership with an emphasis in gifted education from William & Mary in 2013 and is the Senior Science Curriculum and Assessment Specialist for The Achievement and Assessment Institute at the University of Kansas. She is interested in the development of talent in the STEM domains, as well as issues concerning implementation and assessment of the Next Generation Science Standards. She has published articles in Science Education and Roeper Review that explore high-ability students’ decisions to pursue STEM occupations. Her research has been recognized by multiple national awards. Baptiste Barbot, Ph.D., is assistant professor of quantitative methods in the Department of Psychology at Pace University, and adjunct assistant professor at Yale University, Child Study Center. His research focuses on creativity and creative thinking development in adolescence (in various domains including music, writing, and visual arts), in relation to adolescents’ identity formation (thinking processes involved in identity formation, self-concept development, personal expressiveness, and individuation). Marion Botella, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in differential psychology at the Université Paris Descartes. After defending her thesis describing how emotions are involved in the artistic creative process, she was postdoctoral researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) where she examined the impact of creativity on mood. Since 2013, she has been conducting her research within LATI (Laboratoire Adaptations Travail-Individu). Her research focuses on the creative process in various domains (such as art, science, design), alexithymia and affective traits of creators, and the development and construction of scales. Jordan Burko is a doctoral student in psychology at Florida State University. She received her bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross. Jordan’s research interests include emotional intelligence and the social and emotional difficulties experienced by gifted individuals. Jordan recently coauthored a book chapter, “Humanities Education and the Gifted” with Dr. Steven Pfeiffer. She is preparing to publish her thesis, which is a methodology review of all published research on twice-exceptional students. Upon completing her doctoral degree, Jordan plans to work as a clinician. Meredith J. Greene Burton, Ph.D., earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut, specializing in the social, emotional, and career counseling needs of gifted students. She worked as a research assistant for The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented and as co-organizer of Confratute, UConn’s international summer institute for gifted education teachers. Dr. Burton received a Doctoral Student Award from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) for exemplary work in research, publications, and educational service and the Roy C. Hill award from the Canadian Teachers Federation for innovative teaching practices and a Golden Leaf Award from the Canadian Educational Press Association for professional writing. Chun Ser Chua has been involved in the evaluation of students participating in Outward Bound’s Singapore youth programs. Previously he was a research assistant with the Institute of Policy Studies examining demographic and social issues and writing articles and reports on population trends and policy. He is currently involved with research on Outward Bound Singapore (OBS). The projects evaluate objectives of OBS programs, identifying general outcomes gained by participants, as well as the motivation and reasons participants attend the programs. Jennifer Riedl Cross, Ph.D., is the Director of Research at the William & Mary Center for Gifted Education. Dr. Cross holds a doctorate in educational psychology with a specialty in cognitive and social processes. She is the coeditor, with Tracy L. Cross, of the Handbook for Counselors Serving Students With Gifts and Talents. Her research in the field emphasizes the social aspects of gifted education, from individuals coping with the stigma of giftedness to attitudes toward giftedness and gifted education. Anna Dilley is a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut in the Cognition, Instruction, and Learning Technologies program in the Neag School of Education. She received her bachelor of science in psychology and her bachelor of arts in fine arts from Purdue University in 2013. Her primary research interest is in creativity, with a particular interest in the development of creativity within schools. Dante D. Dixson is a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, in the School Psychology Program. He has a bachelor’s degree (Honors) in psychology and a master’s degree in education from Berkeley. His research interests include disadvantaged youth, gifted education, and the role of hope in the educational and
psychological functioning of children and adolescents. A past president of the Educational Opportunity Program at Berkeley, Dixson is the Managing Editor for Review of Educational Research, a recipient of a multiyear Cota Robles Fellowship, a member of the American Educational Research Association and the Association for Psychological Science, and an editorial board member for The New School Psychology Bulletin. Megan Foley-Nicpon, Ph.D., is an associate professor of counseling psychology and Associate Director for Research and Clinic at the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, both at the University of Iowa. Foley-Nicpon’s research and clinical interests include assessment and intervention with high-ability students with ASD, ADHD, and emotional/learning difficulties, and the social and emotional development of talented and diverse students. Awards include the NAGC Early Scholar Award; AERA Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Path Breaker Award; AERA Division E Outstanding Research Award in Human Development; and, twice, the Mensa Research Award, Mensa Education and Research Foundation. Joan Freeman, Ph.D., is a distinguished expert on gifts and talents. She has conducted and supervised considerable research including her 35-year intimate study of gifted and nongifted children, and has many publications in this area including three UK government reports. She has given invited presentations in most parts of the world to scholars, practitioners, and the public. The British Psychological Society has awarded her a Fellowship and Lifetime Achievement Award, as has Mensa International. She is founding president of the European Council for High Ability, Executive European Talent Centres, and is at Middlesex University, London. Rhoda Myra Garces-Bacsal, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She is the Programme Leader of the Masters Program in High Ability Studies. Aside from supervising teachers in local schools in Singapore, she also does clinical supervision among graduate students in counseling psychology. She has published on socioaffective concerns of gifted learners, family influences in talent development, experiences of flow among young artists, and alternative pathways to talent development. She serves as the Programme Director of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content held annually in Singapore Susan Dulong Langley is a Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Educational Psychology, gifted and talented education. She is an adjunct faculty member and graduate assistant in the National Center for Research on Gifted Education. Prior to that, she was a teacher of the gifted in Framingham, MA. She is the past president of the Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education and currently serves as the Governance Secretary for the National Association for Gifted Children. Susan’s research interests include identification, services, and program retention for diverse gifted learners. Seon-Young Lee, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Education at Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea. Previously, she was a faculty member of the education department at Yonsei University and worked as a research assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. She has conducted both quantitative and qualitative studies involving gifted students with foci on academic talent development and specialized gifted programs. Her research interests also encompass creativity, psychosocial development of gifted population, and family roles in talent development. She was the recipient of the 2011 Gifted Child Quarterly Paper of the Year award. Gregory Arief D. Liem, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Psychological Studies Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Singapore. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and coedited five books. Liem currently serves as a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools, Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, and the Asia-Pacific Education Researcher. His research interests and specialization are in the areas of motivation and engagement across various performance settings, self-related beliefs, character strengths, and quantitative methodologies. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University and a professor in the School of Education and Social Policy. Over the past 30 years she has created programs for all kinds of gifted learners and written extensively about talent development. She has served as the editor of Gifted Child Quarterly, coeditor of the Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, and on the editorial boards of Gifted and Talented International, Roeper Review, and Gifted Child Today. She is a former president of the National Association for Gifted Children and received the Distinguished Scholar Award in 2009 from NAGC. Jean Sunde Peterson, Ph.D., professor emerita, Purdue University, has focused most of her research on gifted youth, often exploring their development longitudinally and qualitatively. She has received eight national awards recognizing her scholarship, as well as 12 awards at Purdue for research, teaching, or service. She consults nationally and internationally, served two terms on the NAGC Board of Directors, and has authored more than 100 books, journal articles, and invited chapters. She is a former long-time classroom and gifted education teacher and is a licensed school and mental health counselor with considerable experience with gifted children and teens and their families.
Jonathan A. Plucker, Ph.D., is the Raymond Neag Endowed Professor of Education at the University of Connecticut. His research interests include talent development and educational excellence, creativity, the education of low-income students, and education policy. He has published his research in more than 200 publications, including the recent books Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education with Carolyn M. Callahan and Intelligence 101 with Amber Esping. He received the NAGC Distinguished Scholar award in 2013. Del Siegle, Ph.D., is Director of the National Center for Research on Gifted Education at the University of Connecticut. He is a past president of the National Association for Gifted Children, past president of the Montana Association of Gifted and Talented Education, and chair of the Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent SIG of the American Educational Research Association. He and D. Betsy McCoach are editors of Gifted Child Quarterly. Del is coauthor with Gary Davis and Sylvia Rimm of the popular textbook, Education of the Gifted and Talented. Prior to becoming a professor, Del worked with gifted students in Montana. Kristie Speirs Neumeister, Ph.D., is a professor of educational psychology at Ball State University where she directs the Gifted Licensure series and teaches graduate courses in educational psychology relating to gifted education. She also is a consultant to the Indiana Department of Education in the area of high-ability education. She is the past president of the Indiana Association for the Gifted and received the 2009 National Association for Gifted Children Early Scholar Award. She and her husband also are the parents of four gifted daughters. Rena F. Subotnik, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Gifted Education Policy at the American Psychological Association. The Center’s mission is to generate public awareness, advocacy, clinical applications, and cutting-edge research ideas that enhance the achievement and performance of children and adolescents with gifts and talents in all domains. Her recent publications reflect her scholarship on applications of psychological science to gifted education, talent development in specific domains, and psychological strength training for academically gifted children and youth. She has been supported in this work by the National Science Foundation, the Association for Psychological Science, and the American Psychological Foundation. Deepa Surendran received her master’s degree and bachelor’s degree (English) from Nanyang Technological University. She has been teaching in a primary school for 11 years. Deepa has a strong interest in the area of gifted education and has presented in conferences and seminars in Singapore. Keith Chiu Kian Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology. He works as a research assistant at the National Institute of Education and is currently involved in a study that examines teacher professional development (PD) and teacher leadership in Singaporean music and arts teachers who attend a PD program. Liang See Tan, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and received her master’s degree from Purdue University. She taught in school for 16 years before joining the National Institute of Education as a lecturer and now as a research scientist at the Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice. Liang See’s research interests include academic emotion, goal orientation and student outcomes, teacher learning in the area of curriculum differentiation/innovation for high-ability learners, and talent development. Kristofor Wiley, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School of Education and Child Development at Drury University. His interests include the interaction between environment and giftedness, differentiation of curriculum, and large-scale data analysis. Before earning his doctorate at the University of Virginia, Kris taught for 6 years with the Springfield Scholars Program, a full-time program for gifted middle school students. Frank C. Worrell, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is Faculty Director of the School Psychology program, the Academic Talent Development Program, and the California College Preparatory Academy. His research interests include psychosocial development in talented and at-risk adolescents, cultural identities, time perspective, scale development, and the translation of research findings into school-based practice. He is editor of Review of Educational Research and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and five divisions of the American Psychological Association. Worrell is also an elected member of the Society for the Study of School Psychology and a recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Association for Gifted Children. Franck Zenasni, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in differential psychology at the Université Paris Descartes. After defending his thesis examining the links between emotion and creativity, he was postdoctoral researcher at the Institut Gustave Roussy in psycho-oncology (2002–2006) where he examined the impact of treatment on the quality of life of patients in regard to the doctor-patient relationships. He then received funding from the Foundation of France to work on the study skills and specific emotional and creative abilities of gifted individuals. He has been conducting his research within the Laboratoire Adaptations Travail-Individu (LATI) since 2009. His research focuses on the role of emotions in creativity, definitions and descriptions of empathy in health and work, and emotional intelligence, emotional traits, and affective style at work and in creativity.
INDEX ability grouping, 177–17, 183, 217, 231–23, 292, 294, 296 acceleration, 35, 47–48, 55, 194, 197, 217, 219–22, 235, 296 subject-based, 225–226 achievement, 1, 17, 20, 23–24, 31, 35, 43–44, 59, 62, 70–71, 91–95, 124, 143, 147, 159–163, 166, 174–180, 183, 192, 194, 196, 199, 205–212, 223–225, 234–236, 245, 248, 261, 270–275, 285, 287, 290–292, 296 achievement of gifted women, 17–24 ADHD, 104–105, 107–110, 235, 243, 303 affect, 3, 32, 67–68, 165, 233, 289 affective, 4, 9, 67–69, 96, 122, 126, 220, 237–238, 250, 296 anxiety, 9–10, 32, 35, 44, 92, 104, 107–108, 148, 162, 165–166, 180, 207, 236, 243–245, 250, 285, 293 artistic, 66–68, 70–72, 122, 124, 148, 192, 194, 196–197, 199 artistic process, 66–68 asynchrony, 4–6, 9, 42–43, 79, 284, 291 attitudes, 20, 32, 36, 59, 92, 94–95, 131, 137–138, 159, 180, 194, 205, 210, 212, 219–220, 226, 234, 269, 273 attributions of success among gifted men, 21–22 autism spectrum disorder, 105–107, 109–110 beliefs, 12, 22, 47, 60, 70, 93, 104, 132, 137, 159–160, 162, 174–175, 177–179, 181, 183, 194, 205, 207–208, 212, 260, 269–270, 288, 292 bully-victims, 131–134, 137–138 bullying, 7, 46, 131–138, 243, 245, 285, 291–292, 295 bystanders, 132, 137–138 career assessment, 261, 264 counseling, 248, 259–261, 263–265, 290 decision making, 259–262, 264, 290 development, 124, 137, 194, 259–265 education, 259–261, 263–265 cluster grouping, 196, 221 comparative studies, 132, 134–135, 199, 290, 294–295 counseling, 9, 29, 35–36, 88, 103, 108, 110, 112, 116, 138, 143, 217, 226, 243–251, 259–265, 285, 290, 296 creative, 24, 65–72, 120–126, 145–147, 149, 181, 192–193, 196–199, 209, 212, 263, 291, 292 creatives, 119–126, 284 creative productivity, 71, 146–147 creatively gifted youths, 124–125, 261 creativity, 11, 20, 65–72, 119–126, 145–146, 148–149, 152, 196–197, 206, 208–209, 260, 264, 291 cultural identities, 1, 56, 58, 61, 63, 179 culture differences, 10–11, 134, 288–290 cyberbullying, 131, 133, 135, 137–138, 285 Dabrowski, 5, 9–10, 20 depression, 35, 79–88, 92, 104, 106, 108, 135, 243, 285 differentiation, 108, 195, 207 disability, 48, 91, 104–105, 109–113, 134–137, 193, 208, 243, 291
domain specificity, 67, 143, 146–148, 149–152, 159, 161, 182–183, 261, 290, 293 Dweck, 181, 183, 269–275 early entrance, 223–224, 226 effort, 4, 6, 19, 36, 41, 47, 71, 148–149, 151, 160, 162–163, 166, 174, 176, 180–182, 207, 210, 212, 270, 272–273, 276, 287, 290 ego status, 56 eminence, 123, 146, 149–150, 196, 277 emotion, 23, 66–69, 72, 107, 144, 160–162, 165, 176, 180, 183, 212, 244, 285, 288–289, 292–293 emotional resonance model, 69 vulnerabilities of young artists, 124–125 engagement, 91, 97, 161, 166, 174, 176, 181, 183–184, 208, 273 Erikson, 6–7, 11–12, 55 ethnicity, 11, 82–83, 91, 112, 131, 133, 135, 260, 263 evidence-based counseling, 245–246, 249–251, 257 expertise, 146, 149, 194, 211, 250–251, 260, 292 family, 20, 22–23, 82–83, 93, 108, 112, 135, 137, 162–163, 192–194, 205–212, 243, 245, 247–248, 250, 262–263, 285, 290 fine motor skills deficits, 92, 97 forced choice dilemma, 56, 60–62 framework, 5, 8, 11–13, 30, 62, 146, 183 friends, 20, 41–42, 45, 47–48, 133, 260 friendship patterns, 4, 20, 41–48, 133, 260, 289 gender, 2, 11, 17–24, 82, 91, 94–97, 112, 132–133, 179, 221–222, 225, 227, 259–260, 284, 289 gender differences, 2, 17–24, 222 gifted boys, 17–20, 22–24, 93, 108, 284 education, 5, 10, 23, 29, 31–34, 72, 105, 125, 131, 135, 143, 145–146, 159, 220, 236, 248, 259, 263, 286, 293 girls, 17–24, 43, 106, 208, 284 goal orientation, 31, 35, 161, 163, 185, 271, 276 goals, 31–32, 45, 57, 109, 145–146, 160–161, 163, 166, 174–181, 220, 234, 260–261, 263, 265, 285, 287 grade skipping, 221–223 high achievement, 43, 47, 134, 159, 161, 166, 194, 196, 208, 210–211, 234, 289 high creatives, 119–126, 284 high standards, 30–31, 33 home, 20–22, 83, 121, 181–182, 191–193, 198–199, 208, 212, 261, 291 identity development, 6–7, 11, 55–62, 137, 260 Kohlberg, 7–9, 11 learning disability, 91, 105, 109–110, 112, 243 malleable abilities, 146, 273–274 mentors, 95, 125, 150, 162, 194, 196, 199, 260, 264, 292
mindset, 97, 160–162, 175, 181, 183, 211–212, 217, 269–277, 285, 287, 290 mood disorders, 80, 121–123, 243 mood states, 66–67, 161 motivation, 20, 31, 47, 60–61, 71, 92, 94–95, 97, 105, 122, 137, 144–146, 149–150, 159–161, 163, 165, 173–184, 192, 195, 208, 227, 234, 250, 259, 271, 275, 285, 287–289, 294–295 optimal environments, 191–200, 205–212 outside-of-school programs, 191, 196–198, 207–208, 212 outstanding performance, 62, 146, 149 parenting, 93, 144, 163, 194, 205–212, 288 peer, 4, 9, 12, 24, 41–49, 55, 60–61, 81, 93, 95, 106–108, 112, 134–135, 137–138, 148, 151, 174–175, 177, 180, 195, 197, 212, 221–223, 225, 227, 235–236, 243–245, 274, 284–286, 292, 296 perfectionism, 2, 29–36, 79, 92, 206, 244, 260, 262, 271, 275, 277, 284–285, 291 performance, 18–19, 31–32, 44–46, 60–62, 68, 94–95, 105, 124, 146–151, 159, 161–166, 174–176, 178–181, 184, 195–196, 199, 272–273, 276, 285, 287, 293 persistence, 57, 92, 145, 149, 160, 163, 165, 175–176, 207–208, 210, 261, 275 personality traits, 57–58, 66, 68, 87, 126 psychological androgyny, 24 psychology of artists, 119–125 psychosocial skills, 143, 146, 148–152 race, 11, 47, 58, 60–62, 82, 112, 131, 133, 135, 179, 225, 231, 234, 238, 260, 262–263, 289 radical acceleration, 224–225 rest, 160, 164–166, 285, 293 school counseling, 88, 245–246, 248, 251, 261, 263, 285 schools, 11, 34, 41, 46, 49, 87, 96, 111, 132–135, 150, 194–195, 211, 235–236, 245–246, 248, 261, 270 selective underachiever, 94 self-beliefs, 70, 160, 162, 178 self-concept, 19–20, 48, 70–71, 83, 94, 105, 107, 109, 177–178, 183, 218, 222–223, 227, 232–234, 236, 285, 288 self-efficacy, 21, 70, 92, 177–178, 212, 234 shared vulnerability model, 120, 122, 291 sleep, 29, 32, 164–166, 243, 293 social and emotional needs of creatives, 119–126 of boys and girls, 17–24 stages, 6–8, 68, 70, 149, 160, 162, 166, 192, 198, 199, 250, 275 suicidal behavior, 80, 84–88 suicide, 79–88 attempts, 81, 84, 86–87 completions, 84, 87 ideation, 84–85, 88 supportive environments, 4, 35, 83, 97, 105, 160, 182, 191–200, 210, 234 talent development, 22, 36, 112, 124, 143–152, 159–166, 173–184, 191–199, 205–212, 225, 244, 248–249, 259, 284–285, 287, 289–290, 292–294 teachers, 7, 11, 17–18, 21–24, 29, 35–36, 45–46, 57–58, 77, 81–82, 91, 93, 97, 106, 108–109, 113, 131–132, 134, 137–138, 150, 152, 162, 173, 175–176, 181–182, 184, 194–197, 199, 224–226, 235, 237–238, 248, 250, 260,
264, 270–273, 276, 287, 292 theory, 3–13, 35, 45, 55, 58, 67, 70, 97, 174, 176, 178–179, 232–233, 238, 245, 262, 269–272 therapy, 113, 245, 247, 250 cognitive-behavioral therapy, 250 twice-exceptional, 48, 103–113, 136, 193, 208, 217, 235, 238, 249, 261, 263, 284–285, 287, 294 underachievement, 34, 47–48, 91–97, 107, 174, 178–180, 183, 208–209, 260–261, 263, 271–272, 285, 291, 294–295 underrepresentation, 21, 60, 62, 86, 286