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ERIC Number: EJ822883
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 58
ISSN: ISSN-0016-9862
A Longitudinal Study of Negative Life Events, Stress, and School Experiences of Gifted Youth
Peterson, Jean; Duncan, Nancy; Canady, Kate
Gifted Child Quarterly, v53 n1 p34-49 2009
An 11-year mixed-methods, cross-sectional longitudinal study began with a group of 121 children, identified as gifted, and followed them until high-school graduation. Parents annually identified negative life events experienced by child and family, and, at graduation, students completed an open-ended retrospective questionnaire, focusing on events, impact of events, supports, and hindrances during the school years. As a result of attrition, participants became increasingly homogeneous over time. School data were available for 59 students (of 63 family units who sustained involvement) at the end. The students had experienced many negative events and situations during the school years. However, they usually cited academic challenges, school transitions, peer relationships, and overcommitment as their most challenging experiences, not life events. Almost without exception, they maintained high achievement. Putting the Research to Use: Gifted students may not communicate their distress to adults who are invested in their achievement or non-achievement. Significant adults therefore might wisely keep the findings in this study in mind as they interact with them. Inquiring casually about how the students are feeling or how they are managing high-stress times in the academic or extra-curricular year might be appreciated and potentially helpful. Though habits of achievement may help them to maintain high grades and high levels of extra-curricular performance, achievers might quietly experience high levels of stress from their heavy involvements in or outside of school. Low achievement and a high number of absences may also reflect personal stress in gifted students. Showing non-voyeuristic, holistic interest in gifted students as complex individuals, gently commenting when they seem "flat," not fueling ultra-competitive attitudes, and offering credible comments about personal strengths and resilience might offer crucial support at a time of vulnerability. (Contains 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A