Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Camilla P. Benbow

Second Advisor

Norman A. Scott


Two complete papers are combined to form a study of academic and social aspects of the lives of gifted adolescents. The first paper focuses upon academic experiences among individuals who were academically accelerated during adolescence. Results indicate that the long-term academic performance of accelerated gifted individuals is at least equal to that of equally gifted non-accelerants. Although few significant differences are found between the groups on individual variables, the accelerates outperformed the non-accelerates across variables. No evidence is found to support the common concern that gifted students may be harmed by accelerative experiences;The second paper examines the social experiences of gifted adolescents in school. Results indicate that gifted adolescents consider themselves to be less popular than do average-ability students, but that gifted adolescents have higher general, academic, and social self-concepts than do those of average ability. A survey of gifted students' school-related beliefs and behaviors yielded five factors: (a) denial of giftedness, (b) popularity/conformity, (c) peer acceptance, (d) fear of failure, and (e) activity level. The relationships between students' scores on these factors and indicators of self-perceived popularity and self-concept were explored. Results include indications that the most highly able students may be those most likely to deny their giftedness, that verbally gifted individuals may perceive themselves to be less accepted by their peers than do mathematically gifted individuals, and that girls may have particular difficulty in simultaneously accepting their giftedness and maintaining positive self-concepts. In addition, some unexpected results suggest that peer acceptance may be inversely related to some types of self-concept and that, for gifted boys, extensive involvement in structured activities also may relate negatively to self-concept in some areas. These results are preliminary and require replication; nevertheless, they provide several potential topics for future research. The importance of addressing the impact of high intellectual ability on the whole adolescent, not just on academics, is stressed.


Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Mary Ann Swiatek



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

157 pages