Describe and discuss the social and emotional consequences for a child of being identified as gifted. Refer to evidence in your answer. (12 marks - 5/7 split)

Essay by LadyK3344College, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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Some psychologists believe that a gifted child's social and emotional development is not adversley affected by their being gifted, whereas other psychologists believe they are affected in a negative way.

Early research using highly gifted children suggests that they don't encounter social and emotional development problems and that the self-esteem of these gifted children is as high as that of 'normal' children. This idea is supported by Terman's longitudinal study 1925-1959. He studied and followed children with an IQ of 140+ throughout their lifetime and found that they were very successful in many aspects of their life. This means that his research does not support the view that gifted children will encounter emotional and social development problems.

If you choose to agree with this research then there would be no (or very little) social and emotional consequences of a child being identified as gifted. However, when you look at further and more recent studies this idea could be said to apply only to moderately gifted children and not highly gifted children.

Gallagher '58 found that problems of social acceptance were greater for exceptionally gifted children than moderately gifted. He also found, in '58, that 25% of 36 highly gifted primary school children he studied has considerable emotional difficulties had more problems being accepted socially than moderately gifted. Dehaan '61 explained Gallagher '58 research further by suggesting that this was because moderately gifted children are intelligent enough to overcome social difficulties and, in fact, are not so different from 'normal' children but exceptionally gifted children are intellectually years beyond their age peers.

As a development of this idea, there is substantial research to support the idea that highly gifted children may well come across social and development problems unless their giftedness is dealt with appropriately. Selig '59 found that the incidence...