Protective factors as barriers to depression in gifted and nongifted adolescents


Despite continued efforts by researchers, a gap still exists in our understanding of the psychological, social, and emotional adjustment of gifted students. Historically, research and education of the gifted has focused on cognitive variables, with less attention given to the social and emotional needs of these students. The current study used data from the full Add Health data set to examine how protective factors moderated depression differently for gifted and nongifted adolescents. Results of the study indicate that gifted students are significantly less depressed than nongifted students, and all of the protective factors moderated depression for both groups. Future research should examine additional indicators of psychosocial well-being provide a more comprehensive framework for understanding the social and emotional development of gifted and nongifted adolescents. Putting the Research to Use: Empirical research examining the unique social and emotional needs of gifted adolescents is at a critical juncture. Both educators and researchers have become increasingly aware that giftedness, in whatever form, has unique influences on the social and emotional development of gifted adolescents. In line with previous findings, results in the current study suggest that for both gifted and nongifted adolescents, social support at home and at school can play an important role in reducing problems (i.e. depression) and at the same time enhancing resiliency. It is time, as Ford (1994) has suggested, for educators and researchers to take substantial steps to strengthen the gfamily-school- communityĝ€ link in order to provide adequate social support in the many contexts that both gifted and nongifted adolescents live (Bronfenbrenner, 1977). © 2009 National Association for Gifted Children.

Publication Title

Gifted Child Quarterly