Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 19–39 | Cite as

Social Coping Among Gifted High School Students and its Relationship to Self-Concept

  • Mary Ann Swiatek


Several authors suggest that gifted adolescents employ a variety of strategies to cope with perceived negative social effects of recognized high ability. The Social Coping Questionnaire (SCQ) is designed to measure the use of several such strategies. Previous SCQ studies were based on participants who earned high scores on above-level standardized tests. The current study uses a revised SCQ and a differently identified group of gifted students. Factor analysis produced 7 social coping scales similar to those found in previous studies. The scales had adequate internal consistency and test-retest reliability at an 8-week interval. Gender differences at Time 1 suggest that females are more likely than males to deny giftedness and maintain high activity levels, whereas males are more likely than females to use humor. Grade level (9–12) main effects and gender by grade level interactions were absent. Relationships with self-concept scores suggest that problem-focused social coping strategies are more adaptive than are emotion-focused, denial-based strategies.


Gender Difference Internal Consistency Coping Strategy Standardize Test High School Student 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aneshensel, C. S., and Gore, S. (1991). Development, stress, and role restructuring: Social transitions of adolescence. In Eckenrode, J. (ed.), The Social Context of Coping, Plenum, New York, pp. 55–77.Google Scholar
  2. Bird, G.W., and Harris, R. L. (1990). A comparison of role strain and coping strategies by gender and family structure among early adolescents. J. Early Adolesc. 10: 141–158.Google Scholar
  3. Bireley, M., and Genshaft, J. (1991). Adolescence and giftedness: A look at the issues. In Bireley, M., and Genshaft, J. (eds.), Understanding the Gifted Adolescent: Educational, Developmental, and Multicultural Issues, Teachers College Press, New York, pp. 1–17.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, B. B., and Steinberg, L. (1990, March). Academic achievement and social acceptance. Educ. Dig. 57–60.Google Scholar
  5. Buescher, T. M., and Higham, S. J. (1987). Influences on Strategies Adolescents Use to Cope With Their Own Recognized Talents. U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Washington, DC. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 288 285)Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences (Rev. Ed.). Academic Press, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  7. Coleman, J. C. (1978). Current contradictions in adolescent theory. J. Youth Adolesc. 7: 1–11.Google Scholar
  8. Coleman, L. J., and Cross, T. L. (1988). Is being gifted a social handicap? J. Educ. Gifted 11(4): 41–56.Google Scholar
  9. Coleman, L. J., and Sanders, M. D. (1993). Understanding the needs of gifted students: Social needs, social choices and masking one's giftedness. J. Sec. Gifted Educ. 5: 22–25.Google Scholar
  10. Copeland, E. P., and Hess, R. S. (1995). Differences in young adolescents' coping strategies based on gender and ethnicity. J. Early Adolesc. 15: 203–219.Google Scholar
  11. Cross, T. L., Coleman, L. J., and Stewart, R. A. (1993). The social cognition of gifted adolescents: An exploration of the Stigma of Giftedness Paradigm. Roeper Rev. 16(1): 37–40.Google Scholar
  12. Cross, T. L., Coleman, L. J., and Terhaar-Yonkers, M. (1991). The social cognition of gifted adolescents in schools: Managing the stigma of giftedness. J. Educ. Gifted 15: 44–55.Google Scholar
  13. Delisle, J. R. (1997). Gifted adolescents: Five steps toward understanding and acceptance. In Colangelo, N., and Davis, G. A. (eds.), Handbook of Gifted Education (2nd Ed.). Allyn and Bacon, Boston, pp. 475–482.Google Scholar
  14. Erikson, E. H. (1950). Identity versus identity diffusion. In Mussen, P. H., Conger, J. J., and Kagan, J. (eds.), Readings in Child Development and Personality, Harper and Row, New York, pp. 435–441.Google Scholar
  15. Frydenberg, E., and Lewis, R. (1991). Adolescent coping: The different ways in which boys and girls cope. J. Adolesc. 14: 119–133.Google Scholar
  16. Frydenberg, E., and Lewis, R. (1997). Coping with Stresses and Concerns During Adolescents: A Longitudinal Study. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Washington, DC. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 407 647)Google Scholar
  17. Gross, M. U. M. (1989). The pursuit of excellence or the search for intimacy? The forced-choice dilemma of gifted youth. Roeper Rev. 11: 189–194.Google Scholar
  18. Harter, S. (1988). Manual for the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents. University of Denver, Denver, CO.Google Scholar
  19. Janos, P. M., Fung, H. C., and Robinson, N. M. (1985). Self-concept, self-esteem, and peer relations among gifted children who feel “different.” Gifted Child Q. 29: 78–82.Google Scholar
  20. Jerusalem, M., and Schwarzer, R. (1989). Anxiety and self-concept as antecedents of stress and coping: A longitudinal study with German and Turkish adolescents. Person. Indiv. Differ. 10: 785–792.Google Scholar
  21. Langram, C. M. (1997). Adolescent voices–Who's listening? J. Sec. Gifted Educ. 8: 189–199.Google Scholar
  22. Lazarus, R. S., and Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, Appraisal, and Coping. Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Maddi, S. (1981). Individual development: Its significance for stress responsivity and stress adaptation. In Moore, C. D. (ed.), Adolescence and Stress: Report of an NIMH Conference, National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, MD, pp. 15–25.Google Scholar
  24. Manaster, G. J., Chan, J. C., Watt, C., and Wieche, J. (1994). Gifted adolescents' attitudes toward their giftedness: A partial replication. Gifted Child Q. 38: 176–178.Google Scholar
  25. Manor-Bullock, R., Look, C., and Dixon, D. N. (1995). Is giftedness socially stigmatizing? The impact of high achievement on social interactions. J. Educ. Gifted 18: 319–338.Google Scholar
  26. Patterson, J. M., and McCubbin, H. I. (1987). Adolescent coping style and behaviors: Conceptualization and measurement. J. Adolesc. 10: 163–186.Google Scholar
  27. Strop, J. M., and Hultgren, H. M. (1985). A Profile of the Characteristics, Needs and Counseling Preferences of Talent Search Summer Institute participants. U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 262 534.Google Scholar
  28. Swiatek, M. A. (1995). An empirical investigation of the social coping strategies used by gifted adolescents. [Special issue: Giftedness in the social context]. Gifted Child Q. 39: 154–161.Google Scholar
  29. Swiatek, M. A., and Dorr, R.M. (1998). Revision of the Social Coping Questionnaire: Replication and extension of previous findings. J. Sec. Gifted Educ. 10(1): 252–259.Google Scholar
  30. Tomchin, E. M., Callahan, C. M., Sowa, C. J., and May, K. M. (1996). Coping and self-concept: Adjustment patterns in gifted adolescents. J. Sec. Gifted Educ. 8(1): 16–27.Google Scholar
  31. Wethington, E., and Kessler, R. C. (1991). Situations and processes of coping. In Eckenrode, J. (ed.), The Social Context of Coping, Plenum, New York, pp. 13–29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Ann Swiatek

    There are no affiliations available

    Personalised recommendations