Family environment and social development in gifted students

Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Seon Young Lee*, Dana Thomson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Involving more than 1,500 academically gifted students and their parents, this study examined relationships between family environment and social competence of gifted students. Results from an online survey revealed that our gifted students rated their families as cohesive and flexible with high levels of satisfaction and communication among family members. Compared with students, parents identified their families as more intimate, cohesive, and flexible and felt more positively about communication among their family members. Students’ ratings of their family were found to be good predictors of their interpersonal ability and peer relationships, and positive correlations were found between the students’ social competence and their ratings of functional aspects of the family. Differences were also found by students’ level of social competence, with students with higher levels of social competence rating their families more positively. Unlike the norming sample, rigidity was not endorsed as a negative family variable. The results of this study are consistent with previous research in that affectionate, supportive, and respectful family environments appear to be important to the development of interpersonal skills and competency and peer relationships for gifted individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-216
Number of pages18
JournalGifted Child Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 13 2014


  • Family environment
  • Gifted students
  • Parenting
  • Peer relationships
  • Social competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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