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Title:Conflicts Experienced by Gifted Women: "Wasting It" Versus Being Feminine
Author(s):Kirkpatrick, Heather A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fitzgerald, Louise F.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Abstract:Using in-depth interviewing, this qualitative investigation examined the messages received by intellectually gifted women regarding their intelligence and femininity, as well as conflicts between these two sets of messages. Interviews were conducted with eight women who had been identified as intellectually gifted during childhood and adolescence. Audio-taped interviews were transcribed and then inductively analyzed using methods described by Miles and Huberman (1994) and Strauss (1987). Two sets of messages emerged: (a) messages concerning how intellectually gifted persons should act or think, and (b) messages which prescribe "feminine" behavior, thoughts, and values. Messages regarding intelligence include the importance of meeting other's expectations; pressure to live up to one's "potential"; the negative social consequences associated with perceived intelligence, such as unpopularity; and expectations regarding maturity, perfection, and the ease with which intelligent people meet academic challenges. Messages prescribing feminine thought and behavior include the priority of meeting others' needs, at times at a high cost to self; avoidance of arrogant self-presentation and pressure to present modestly; the importance of not challenging the "natural" order of male intellectual superiority; and the importance of becoming "married." Conflicts between these sets of messages were also explored. Four central conflicts were identified: Conflict between ability and effort attributions of success; conflict surrounding arrogant and modest self-presentations; conflicts between the demands of relationships versus the demands of careers; and conflict between perceived intelligence and perceived desirability. Coping strategies and occasionally, resolutions specific to each conflict were explored. Finally, the role of self-identity as a theoretical predictor of conflict is discussed. Future research directions and practical implications are provided.
Issue Date:1998
Description:245 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9912291
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1998

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