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The influence of perfectionism on mental health in gifted and twice- exceptional students

The influence of perfectionism on mental health in gifted and twice- exceptional students
Margaret Mary Candler


Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.


Although a long-standing interest in the abilities of gifted students exists, researchers and clinicians have only recently focused on specific factors that may impact the likelihood of mental health diagnoses, such as anxiety and depression, within this population. This is especially true for gifted students with co-existing disabilities, or twice-exceptional students, who may have unique experiences that differ from those of gifted students without disabilities. Perfectionism is one factor that may be important to consider when examining factors that impact the development of anxiety and depression within these populations.

The current study examined how perfectionism differs within gifted and twice- exceptional students within the context of self-reported anxiety and depression. Scores were reported for both gifted (N = 39) and twice-exceptional (N = 28) participants ages 8-14 on the Almost Perfect Scale-Revised (APS-R), Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS), and Children’s Depression Inventory-2 (CDI-2). Pearson chi-square results suggested that gifted students reported higher rates of maladaptive perfectionism on the APS-R compared to twice- exceptional students. Although gifted and twice-exceptional students in this sample reported style of perfectionism differently, group differences disappeared when also considering self- reported symptoms of anxiety and depression via 2x3 analyses of variance. Tukey post-hoc tests indicated that self-reported maladaptive style of perfectionism was related to higher scores on measures of anxiety and depression. Clinical and research implications of these findings were also explored.