Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Education Specialist


Two schools of thought diverge into an ongoing debate as regards to the social intelligence of gifted youth. One view holds that the gifted are often maladjusted (Chronbach, 1960; Hollingworth, 1942). The contrary view is that they are more likely to be well adjusted, with overall above average social and emotional intelligence (Allen, 2000; Chesser, 2001; Kihlstrom & Cantor, 2000; Neihart, 1999). The current research is consistent with views supporting enhanced overall social and emotional intelligence of gifted youth. Some researchers have argued that emotional intelligence and social skills competence are subsets of social intelligence (Chesser, 2000; Greenspan, 1979; Kihlstrom & Cantor, 2000; Morgan, 1996; Salovey & Mayer, 1990,1993). In order to sample the domains of social intelligence in gifted adolescents, a measure of emotional intelligence (Bar-On Emotional Quotient - Inventory: Youth Version) was combined with a measure of social skills competence (Social Skills Rating Scale- Secondary Student and Parent Forms). Participants were students (n = 100) in a very selective summer program for gifted adolescents, and parent respondents (n = 76). This research addresses the following four hypotheses as regards to the relationship between social skills competence and emotional intelligence in gifted adolescents. It was hypothesized that gifted adolescents were expected to score in the above average range on emotional intelligence. Gifted adolescents scored significantly higher than norm samples on the scales of Adaptability, Stress Management and the Total EQ composite. It was also hypothesized that gifted students have above average social skills ratings. Gifted students scored significantly higher than average on all scales of the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) Secondary Student form. Third, it was hypothesized that the constructs of emotional intelligence and social skills competence are related as regards to the self ratings of gifted adolescents. The SSRS Total Scale and all scales of Bar-On EQ-i: YV were significantly correlated. Fourth, parental ratings were consistent with the hypothesis that they would rate their adolescents as having overall average social skills. The means for overall social skills on the Total Scale and Cooperation subscale were in the average range. The Assertion subscale was found to be below average. Parent ratings were significantly above average in the areas of Responsibility and Self-Control, which may be strengths for gifted youth. A significant positive relationship was found between the composites for social skills competence and emotional intelligence. Some differences were noted between the sub-scales of these constructs, suggesting that gifted individuals may tend to have a specific profile of strengths and weaknesses in these domains. This relationship is also consistent with hierarchical theories of social intelligence maintaining that social skills and emotional skills are separate areas of related abilities. These findings suggest that social intelligence domains are important in drawing a complete profile of differential abilities in gifted students. In talent identification, it may be useful to combine measures of social skills competence and emotional intelligence with cognitive evaluations to provide a wider range of information as regards to the abilities of the gifted.


Education | Psychology