Psychosocial Adjustment among Intellectually Gifted Adolescents: the Role of Cognitive‐Developmental and Experiential Factors

Suniya S. Luthar, Edward Zigler, David Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Abstract Levels of psychological adjustment were examined among 51 high achieving, intellectually gifted adolescents with a mean age of 14.1 years. These students were compared with older adolescents matched with them on cognitive maturity (n= 30), and with two groups matched with them on chronological age (CA). One of the CA‐matched groups contained children not identified as gifted (n= 47), while the other consisted of athletically talented youngsters (n= 39). All participants belonged to upper middle class families. On multiple indices of adjustment, intellectually gifted adolescents were comparable to older adolescents will similar cognitive skills, but differed from both groups of age mates. Differences between the gifted and non‐gifted CA‐matched groups were stronger than were those between the gifted group and the athletes of the same age. The findings were interpreted in terms of cognitive‐developmental and experiential influences on psychological adjustment. The study also revealed gender effects which appeared to be linked with conflicts faced by gifted females between issues of achievement and those of social acceptance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-375
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992



  • Intellectual giftedness
  • adolescents
  • cognitive‐developmental
  • psychosocial adjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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