Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Curriculum & Instruction



Major Professor

Richard Speaker, Jr.; Patricia June Austin

Second Advisor

Marc Bonis

Third Advisor

Paul Bole


Why do some gifted minds thrive in life while others fail to fulfill their potential? The spotlight on violence perpetrated by bright individuals questions what went wrong, could it have been prevented, and whether schools are meeting the needs of gifted individuals. Thus, it is important to examine the impact of participation in various gifted and talented programs on the socioaffective development of gifted adolescents. The purpose of this study was to understand (1) if gifted individuals’ social and emotional development were similarly developed as their academic and creative abilities, and (2) if a particular school environment led to differences in psychological developmental profiles. Using six psychometric scales, this quasi-experimental study examined the socioaffective development of 343 gifted and talented students (ages 16-18) enrolled in arts-integrated charter, creative arts charter, and public school programs in an ethnically diverse moderate-size city in the southeastern United States. Students’ performances on psychometric scales were compared over time and by type of program. Participants took pre- and post-tests over the first semester of an academic school year with BarOn EQ-I: YVassessing social and emotional development. Based on these assessments, quantitative differences in growth on psychological scales were examined. Change scores between schools were also compared. School artifacts provided insight as to environmental qualities of each school environment.

Major findings include gifted and talented adolescents showed significant weakness in intrapersonal abilities and general mood compared to normative age-mates. Gifted females also showed significant weakness in interpersonal abilities and overall socioaffective development. Gifted and talented students displayed strengths only in adaptability (problem solving and flexibility). Study findings support the theory that giftedness heightens vulnerability to adjustment problems. Results also indicated that gifted and talented students in inclusive public school environments demonstrated greater overall socioaffective development across most psychometric scales than charter schools. Results of analysis found gifted and talented students in all five environments showed no significantchange in scores on BarOn EQ-i:YV psychometric scales from Time 1 to Time 2, indicating that no particular school environment impacted social development and emotional intelligence. Future research is needed to confirm the finding that gifted and talented females in this study showed weaknesses in every psychometric scale except for adaptability. Additional research is needed to further understand social and emotional development among minority, low income, and female gifted and talented students, particularly those enrolled in selective and exclusive environments.


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