Not Just "Nerd Camp": The Influence of Association with GiftedPeers in a Non- Evaluative Residential Setting on AdolescentSelf-Concept, Self-Esteem, and Social Ease Público

Noack, Julia Michele Schwent (2008)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/zg64tm09f?locale=es
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Abstract

Much research on gifted adolescents focuses on their self-concept, self-esteem, and psychological well-being and, often, the impact of in-school gifted programs on these components of self. This study, in contrast, addresses the influence of summer gifted programs as a potentially unique and dissimilar venue in which self-evaluations may be shaped. Drawing on the theoretical frameworks of social comparisons, reflected appraisals, and presentations of self, I predict that association with gifted peers at camp will positively influence the global and social self-concept and self-esteem of gifted adolescents, as well as their perceived social skills. I also predict that campers will not experience the negative influence on academic self-esteem often found to occur in adolescents participating in school gifted programs. To test these predictions, I conducted a longitudinal survey on 58 gifted students attending a two-week residential summer gifted program and in-depth interviews with 30 campers. Quantitative survey data from established measures of self-concept and self-esteem are compared to campers' accounts of their experiences during and after camp. Quantitative results show that increases in self-esteem and social confidence are greatest for campers who are in the youngest age group, attending camp for the first time, or who initially come to camp with fairly low perceived self-esteem and social skills, although these changes are small. In contrast, data from the interviews show that the majority of participants, regardless of age and years of attendance, report substantial improvements in their self-evaluations and social confidence as a result of attending camp.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction................................................................................................1

II. Theoretical Background and Predictions.................................................5

A. Self-Concept and Self-Esteem.....................................................................5

B. Social Comparisons...................................................................................10

C. The Looking Glass Self and Reflected Appraisals...............................12

D. Goffman's Presentations of Self ..............................................................17

E. "Reservoir of Self-Esteem": Effects Over Time ......................................21

III. Methods....................................................................................................22

A. The Setting...............................................................................................22

B. The Sample: Participant Recruitment and Selection...........................23

C. Quantitative Measures...............................................................................26

D. Qualitative Measures: Interviews..............................................................30

IV. Results.........................................................................................................34

A. Quantitative Analyses..................................................................................34

1. T-Test Comparisons...................................................................................34

2. Minimums and Maximums........................................................................37

3. Limitations..............................................................................................38

B. Qualitative Analyses...................................................................................39

1. Academic Self-Esteem and Perceptions of Giftedness...................................40

2. Camp vs. School: Reflected Appraisals and Presentations of Self...............45

3. Global Self-Esteem, Social Self-Esteem, and Social Ease............................55

4. Going Home: Looking Forward While at Camp and Evaluations at T3........58

V. Conclusion................................................................................................60

A. Limitations and Future Directions............................................................62

VI. References...............................................................................................66

VII. Tables.....................................................................................................76

VIII. Appendices...........................................................................................81

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