Life experiences of gifted adolescents in Sweden

University essay from Örebro universitet/Institutionen för juridik, psykologi och socialt arbete; Örebro universitet/Institutionen för juridik, psykologi och socialt arbete

Abstract: InSwedenhaving a high degree of intelligence is controversial and giftedness is not always seen as an asset.  Twenty-four gifted adolescents from the high-IQ organization MensaSwedenresponded to questions about their sense of coherence as well as to open-ended questions about how their intelligence affected their lives in the contexts of school, friends, and family.  A thematic analysis of the open-ended questions was performed.  Most of the participants wrote about school being under-stimulating and not fitting them.  In the cases where school was seen as stimulating, this was due to individual teachers or school systems other than the traditional Swedish school.  In the context of friends, the adolescents felt support and viewed their friends as an important part of their lives, although good friends were hard to find, especially before secondary school.  Like friends, the family was mostly seen as a positive context where the adolescents could find support.  A majority of the participants felt they had trouble fitting in with people in general, with the exceptions of close friends and family.  The implications of these results are that the Swedish school system needs to be more flexible and that despite school being seen as negative in many cases, friends and family act as buffers to promote adolescents' well-being.

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