This information was produced by the staff of the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (B-BC) at the University of Iowa ( The resources and information listed here are for informational purposes; there is no direct or implied endorsement by the B-BC. Services provided by the B-BC include programs for academically talented K-12 and college students, professional development for teachers, the Assessment and Counseling Clinic, the Acceleration Institute (, and graduate programs and research in gifted education.


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Annotated Bibliography

Articles are listed in descending order by year (most recent first), and then by first author's last name.

Social-Emotional Development

Barber, C. & Woodford-Wasson, J. (2015). A comparison of adolescents' friendship networs by advanced coursework participation status. Gifted Child Quarterly, 59(1), 23-27.

This article used longitudinal data to compare friendship networks of students taking advanced coursework to those of similar nonparticipants, and found that advanced coursework participants had larger networks and more engaged friends than nonparticipants did.

Gallagher, S. Smith, S. R., Merrotsy, P. (2011) Teachers' perceptions of the socioemotional development of intellectually gifted primary aged students and their attitudes towards ability grouping and acceleration. Gifted & Talented International, 26, 11-24.

This qualitative, multi-site case study sought to examine the current educational provisions in place for intellectually gifted primary school students in Queensland and to consider how the beliefs and attitudes of primary school stakeholders were reflected in the production of their school gifted education policies. Attitudes and perceptions of principals and teachers at four Queensland primary schools are reported in this article.

Eddles-Hirsch, K., Vialle, W., Rogers, K. B., & McCormick, J. (2010). "Just challenge those high-ability learners and they'll be alright!" The impact of social context on the affective development of high-ability students. Journal of Advanced Academics, 22(1), 106-128.

This study provided a voice to gifted elementary children attending three very different schools that endeavored to meet their atypical academic needs. Although educators have theorized that special programs for gifted students benefit gifted children academically and contribute positively to their social and emotional development, there is limited research to support this belief. The phenomenological framework used in this study allowed 27 gifted elementary students to present their perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of extension class environments. The results demonstrate that while challenging instruction was clearly important for the emotional well-being of the advanced learners, it went hand in hand with the schools' approach to the social and emotional development of their student populations. The schools' objectives clearly influenced students' perceptions of emotional safety, acceptance of diversity, and teacher-student and peer relations in the schools. This finding differs from previous research results, which suggest that if a gifted child's cognitive abilities are catered to, his or her social and emotional needs will automatically be met. Whereas this study found that the social context of the school played an important role in the talent process, we also found a strong relationship between program type and socioaffective outcomes.

Neihart, M. (2007). The socioaffective impact of acceleration and ability grouping: Recommendations for best practice. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51(4), 330-341.

Although the academic gains associated with acceleration and peer ability grouping are well documented, resistance to their use for gifted students continues because of concerns that such practices will cause social or emotional harm to students. Results from the broad research indicate that grade skipping, early school entrance, and early admission to college have socioaffective benefits for gifted students who are selected on the basis of demonstrated academic, social, and emotional maturity, but may be harmful to unselected students who are arbitrarily accelerated on the basis of IQ, achievement, or social maturity. There is little research on the socioaffective effects of peer ability grouping. The limited evidence indicates strong benefits for highly gifted students and possibly for some minority or disadvantaged gifted students. Robust evidence does not exist to support the idea that heterogeneous classroom grouping per se significantly increases the risk for adjustment problems among moderately gifted students. Recommendations for best practice based on the available evidence are presented.

McHugh, M. W. (2006). Governor's Schools: Fostering the social and emotional well-being of gifted and talented students. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 17(3), 50-58.

The focus of this study is to review existing literature that evaluates the effects of attending a Governor’s School – a specific program model for enrichment – on students’ social and emotional well-being. This line of inquiry differs from traditional approaches in that it considers social and emotional development, as opposed to studying the types of learning that occur at these programs.McHugh begins by reviewing research on general enrichment programs. One set of studies showed that the majority of students attending an enrichment program experienced strong friendships with their newfound peers, while a 1993 study by Enersen concluded that these students experienced psychological difficulties in the form of “unmet needs.” However, all reviewed studies agreed that the supportive social network was the primary benefit of attending an enrichment program. The author next considers strengths and weaknesses of these studies. Strengths include large sample sizes, waiting to collect data until students have settled in at the camp, proper methodology (such as triangulating information sources), and open-ended questions, while weaknesses include low rates of data-return, a reliance on parent perceptions to measure students’ emotional changes, and potentially excessive familiarity between the researchers and the research participants.In reviewing studies that focus specifically on Governor’s Schools, the author concludes that students’ social, academic, and emotional well-being benefit from participating in this kind of summer enrichment. Information on the benefits of Governor’s Schools can be used to address perfectionism and underachievement, two difficulties for some gifted students. The results of this review suggest that Governor’s Schools provide participants with quality enrichment activities in a positive, psychologically-healthy environment. Consequently, existing research on Governor’s Schools can provide information on effective practices for gifted students.

Rinn, A. N. (2006). Effects of a summer program on the social self-concepts of gifted adolescents. The Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 17(2), 65-75.

This study investigates the change in social self-concept among adolescents participating in a summer program for the gifted. Participants include 140 gifted students who had completed the 7th through 10th grade during the previous academic year. Social self-concept was measured at the beginning and end of the summer camp using the same-sex peer relations and the opposite-sex peer relations subscales of the Self-Description Questionnaire II (Marsh, 1990). Results indicate both males and females experienced an increase in their perceived same-sex peer relations and their perceived opposite-sex peer relations over the course of the summer program. Conclusions and implications for education policy are discussed.

Reis, S. M., & Renzulli, J. S. (2004). Current research on the social and emotional development of gifted and talented students: Good news and future possibilities. Psychology in the Schools, 41(1), 119-130.

A recent summary of research produced by a task force of psychologists and educational researchers associated with the National Association for Gifted Children and the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented indicated that high-ability students are generally at least as well adjusted as any other group of youngsters. This research also found, however, that gifted and talented students can face a number of situations that may constitute sources of risk to their social and emotional development. Some of these issues emerge because of a mismatch with educational environments that are not responsive to the pace and level of gifted students' learning and thinking. Others occur because of unsupportive social, school, or home environments. In this article, current research about the social and emotional development of gifted and talented students is summarized and suggestions are made about strategies to enhance these students' school experiences. Suggestions are provided for assessment and educational programming based on students' strengths and interests that may result in helping talented students realize their potential.

Cross, T. L. (2002). Competing with myths about the social and emotional development of gifted students. Gifted Child Today, 25(3), 44-45, 65.

This article presents 8 commonly held myths regarding the social development of gifted students, along with responses based on research, in the hopes that discussion of these examples will help improve services for gifted students and reduce barriers to their well-being.

Plucker, J. A., & Taylor, J. W. V. (1998). Too much too soon? Non-radical advanced grade placement and the self- concept of gifted students. Gifted Education International, 13(2), 121-135.

This study investigated the relationship between advanced- grade placement and the self-concept of 600 gifted adolescents. No differences were found in any facet of self-concept between grade-advanced and non-advanced students or in interactions of advanced status and gender and/or grade level. Caucasian students were significantly more likely to be grade advanced than Hispanic or African- American students.

Sayler, M. F., & Brookshire, W. K. (1993). Social, emotional, and behavioral adjustment of accelerated students, students in gifted classes, and regular students in eighth grade. Gifted Child Quarterly, 37(4), 150-154.

This study found that accelerated students (n=365) and students (n=334) in gifted classes had better perceptions of their social relationships and emotional development and fewer behavior problems than did regular students (n=323). The accelerated eighth graders who entered school early or skipped elementary grades did not report social isolation, emotional difficulties, or behavior problems.

Cornell, D. G., Callahan, C. M., & Loyd, B. H. (1991). Socioemotional adjustment of adolescent girls enrolled in a residential acceleration program. Gifted Child Quarterly, 35(2), 58-66.

The prospective study of adolescent girls enrolled in a residential early college entrance program investigated whether socioemotional adjustment could be predicted by prior personality and family characteristics. Adjustment was assessed from staff, student, and peer perspectives over the course of one academic year. Results indicate consistent predictive relationships between the Jackson Personality Inventory, the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents, the Family Environment Scale, the Parent Adolescent Communication Scale, and four outcome adjustment measures. The importance of studying individual differences in how students adjust in acceleration programs is emphasized.

Bower, B. (1990). Academic acceleration gets social lift. Science News, 138(14), 212-222.

Reported are the findings of a study of the effects of academic acceleration on the social and emotional adjustments of students. Subjects included 1,247 12 to 14 year olds who scored in the top 1% on a national mathematics examination. The advantages of academic acceleration are emphasized.

Pollins, L. (1983). The effects of acceleration on the social and emotional development of gifted students. In C. P. Benbow & J. C. Stanley (Eds.), Academic precocity: Aspects of its development (pp. 113-138). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

From the two perspectives of a literature review and a longitudinal comparison of accelerants and non-accelerants, an examination of the potential effects of acceleration on the social and emotional development of gifted students revealed no identifiable negative effects. The literature review discusses several major studies with respect to issues central to the problem: the differential effects of varying methods of acceleration, the definition of the "social and emotional development" construct, and the identification of appropriate reference groups. The longitudinal comparison presents the results of a study of twenty-one male radical accelerants and twenty-one nonaccelerants matched on age and ability at the time of the talent search. A comparison on several variables revealed that the two groups were very similar at age 13. Five years later, however, differences favoring the accelerants were found in educational aspirations and in the perceived use of educational opportunities, amount of help they reported having received from SMPY, and their evaluation of SMPY's influence on their social and emotional development.