School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


James Swezey


Twice-exceptional, Self-efficacy, Self-determination, Affirmative Model, Phenomenology, Gifted


Education | Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this transcendental, phenomenological study was to describe the perceived self-efficacy of twice-exceptional students in a singular school district located in the southeastern United States. The theories which guided this study are Swain and French’s affirmative model of disability, Deci and Ryan’s self-determination theory, and Bandura’s self-efficacy theory because students who view their disabilities in a positive sense may have greater self-determination and thus increased self-efficacy. The guiding research question for the study examined the shared perceptions of self-efficacy among twice-exceptional students. Data to examine this question were collected from 10 high school students at East Lake School District through interviews, self-efficacy scale, and collages. Collected information was analyzed using the phenomenological process establish by Moustakas in horizonalizing data and establishing themes to derive a written description of the participants’ perception of the phenomenon. The three main themes developed were (a) positive self-efficacy stemming from their area of giftedness, teacher and parental support, and utilization of nontraditional classes; (b) poor self-efficacy centered on their disability and teachers which resulted in frustration and self-doubt; and (c) a participant-generated set of suggestions on how their self-efficacy can be increased through greater focus, communication, and relationship building.