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Personality Characteristics of Elementary School Students within the Top 1% of General Intellectual Ability: Comparison with General Education Students Using Three Personality Measures
AdvisorThornton, Bill W.
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Historically, students within the top 1% of general intellectual ability (GIA) have been described as having unusual personality characteristics. It is generally accepted that students within the top 1% of GIA have unusual academic abilities and educational needs; however, the unusual social-emotional needs of students within the top 1% of GIA are not universally recognized and are not well understood. In the field of giftedness, this has contributed to a lack of focus on students with the greatest need for gifted programming and services: the students within the top 1% of GIA. The purpose of this exploratory quantitative study was to examine the personality characteristics of elementary school students within the top 1% of GIA in relation to general education students using three personality measures. The 3rd – 5th grade Study Group students qualified for a special program for the highly gifted with a WISC V score in the 99th percentile after a district-wide screener. The 4th and 5th grade Comparison Group students were enrolled in general education classrooms at the same schools. Data were collected using a self-report survey instrument comprised of the fourteen subscales from the Big Five Indicator for children (BFI-child), the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children® (MMTIC®), and the Overexcitabilities Questionnaire 2 (OEQ-II) personality measures. These measures were developed based on three personality theories, the Five Factor Model/Big Five Personality Traits, the Jungian Types, and Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities respectively. Data analysis using a 2-Way Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) indicated main effects for Group and Gender. Post hoc analysis indicated that Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, Sensing/Intuition, and Sensual Overexcitability (OE) contributed to the Group main effect and that Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, Imaginational OE, Sensual OE, and Psychomotor OE contributed to the Gender main effect. This was the first study to include measures from the three personality theories; the findings support S. A. Gallagher's (2013) proposed bridges among three personality theories. Additionally, the findings of this study suggest that the unusual personality characteristics of students within the top 1% of GIA should be considered when designing appropriate educational programming and pedagogical methods for these students.