Date of Graduation

Spring 2008


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Charlene Berquist


Gifted children are unique individuals with advanced intelligence, superior reasoning skills, and the ability to think critically, creatively, and abstractly. However, they often experience social isolation because they are sometimes stereotyped as nerds and geeks. Gifted children are considered at-risk youth because they are prone to depression, contemplating suicide, dropping out of high school and becoming underachievers. The current study explored the marginalized status of these students, identified social coping strategies these children use, and examine how these children manage multiple identities. A qualitative method was used to analyze data. The study found that gifted children may be marginalized by their peers because of their perceived privilege. Gifted children employ a variety of communication strategies to cope with their marginalized status. They also use communication as a way to express identity in peer groups. Additionally, the existence of another marginalized group was discovered; this is a group of high achieving children whose IQs do not qualify them to be labeled as gifted. These children are not accepted by their gifted peers because they are "too dumb” and they are not accepted by their non-gifted peers because they are "too smart.”


Gifted Children, privilege, marginalization, social coping strategies, cocultural communication

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© Katie Margavio Striley

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