Thesis Title

The Rites of Passage of Gifted Adolescents: An Examination of Folk Narrative

Date of Graduation

Fall 2006


Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education


Reading, Foundations, and Technology

Committee Chair

Steven Jones


The purpose of this study was to examine the role of coming-of-age rites of passage on successful, psychosocial identity formation. The study sought to determine the types of coming-of-age rites of passage that the participants were engaging in, the criteria that the participants considered necessary for adulthood, the relationship between those criteria and successful identity formation, the extent to which their coming-of-age rites of passage were facilitating their identity formation. Using qualitative methodology, the oral rite of passage narratives of three gifted high school seniors were collected through individual interviews, then coded and analyzed as a combination of folk behavior and folk culture. The study concluded that, although the participants possessed concepts of adulthood that bore remarkable semblance to successful identity formation, that adolescents were not participating in activities that supported the development of those concepts. Furthermore, the participants were not engaging in enough rites of passage that the rites could be said to have a strong affect on identity formation.


rite of passage, adolescent, folklore, oral narrative, identity

Subject Categories



© Zachary J. Carnagey