School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy


David Jenkins

Primary Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology; Education, General; Education, Sociology of; Psychology, General


Adult, Counseling, Education, Gifted, Phenomenology, Talented


Counseling Psychology | Education | Educational Psychology | Gifted Education | Psychology | School Psychology


This is a phenomenological study of adult perceptions of the experience of being identified "talented and gifted" as children. Data were gathered by transcribing the video recordings of adults who were students of the Talented and Gifted (TAG) education program in Fairfield, Ohio during 1978-1983. The phenomenological method was used to discover perceptions of a unique population of adults who shared life experiences during elementary and middle school. Analysis of the data resulted in the identification of four main themes: Growth, Interpersonal, Future, and Thankfulness. Three facilitating and three challenging subthemes were identified under each main theme. These were: Internal Validation of TAG Identity, Opportunity to Channel Talents and Gifts, Broadminded Thinking for Problem Solving, Overcoming Self-criticism, Setting Priorities Relative to the TAG Identity, Persuading Others, Positive Bonding Within TAG, Respect from Others, Social Confidence, Feelings of Isolation, Being Misunderstood, Ongoing Intellectual Insecurity, TAG Career Preparation, Optimism, Awareness of Responsibility to Achieve Potential, Career Indecision, Boredom With the Status Quo, How to Achieve Potential, Creative Outlet, Positive Memories, Love for Enthusiastic Teachers, Need for Creative Outlet Post-TAG, Creating New Memories, and Disappointed with Other Education. Implications for future practice and research include an eclectic approach to counseling and education with the TAG identity in mind. Cognitive Behavioral, Adlerian, and Existentialist theories and therapies are recommended as a resource for therapists and educators to help gifted people discover what they want out of life, and to help them focus on positive action in the present moment.