An investigation into the developmental differences in social coping strategy endorsement of gifted adolescents in adjoining school districts

Foust, Regan Clark, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Callahan, Carolyn, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Hertberg-Davis, Holly, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Booker, Keonya C., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Fan, Xitao, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

During adolescence, any factor that can differentiate an adolescent from his or her social group can be perceived negatively. Research suggests early adolescents value peer acceptance and conformity to group norms more than older adolescents. Therefore, younger adolescents tend to endorse coping strategies that conceal or compensate for differentiating characteristics more strongly than older adolescents. Surprisingly, findings relating to developmental differences in strategy endorsement among gifted adolescents are inconsistent with this trend, but our understanding of the social coping of gifted students has been based on data from samples of gifted adolescents attending selective residential summer programs. Coping strategy endorsement, as measured by the Social Coping Questionnaire (Swiatek, 2001), was analyzed in 204 identified gifted 6th-12th grade students within adjoining school districts by conducting a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) across age groups. Several of the scales used for this analysis lacked internal consistency, which limited the interpretability and practical usefulness of the age difference results. However, age difference analysis on the other, more reliable scales (i.e., Conforming, Discounting the importance of Popularity, and Denying Giftedness) revealed no significant differences between the levels of strategy endorsement of younger adolescents (students ages 11-13) and older adolescents (students ages 14-18). The findings suggest the factor structure derived from gifted students attending selective summer programs may not hold when assessing gifted adolescents attending public school with large gifted populations.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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