mmpi profiles of gifted adolescents

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MMPI PROFILES OF GIFTED ADOLESCENTS WALLACE A. KENNEDY Florida State University PROBLEM The literature('. 2, on gifted adolescents contains many descriptions of their personality. There is, however, a paucity of data collected on the personality pro- files of the highly productive group of gifted adolescents and no large-scale MMPI sampling. Profile data are desirable both to describe groups to have and a base line from which to compare the individual gifted child who presents a diagnostic problem relevant to his own emotional stability. Even though this group represents only a very small segment of the total adolescent population, they are certainly a highly significant minority. PROCEDURE For three years the author has administered the MMPI to the group of math- ematically gifted adolescents who attend the summer math institute at Florida State University. This institute, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and under the direction of Dr. Eugene Nichols, brings together each summer about thirty high achievers in mathematics from high schools in most of the 50 states. The students who were on campus for six weeks of intensive and extensive exposure to higher mathematics were administered a battery of psychological tests by the staff of the Human Development Clinic. These math students with a mean chronological age of 17.4 and showing no clinically evident psychopathology are exceptional on two counts : (a) their high intellectual ability (Wechsler I& mean of 134.9 and standard deviation of 7.7); and (b) their high productivity, both from the point of view of a superior general schol- astic record, and special mathematical achievement. They are able at the eleventh grade level in high school to perform second and third-year college mathematics. We have now accumulated 100 MMPI profiles from this sample during the three years that we have studied the group. There were 79 males and 21 females in the group and there were no validity T scores above 70. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Table 1 presents the mean and standard deviation for the scale scores of each of the sub-scales of the MMPI. Both males and females are slightly high on the HY scale and the males are high on the MF scale. All other mean profiles were below a scale score of 60. Table 2 contains the intercorrelations between the scales which are TABLE 1. MMPI SUB-SCALE MEANS AND SD's FOR MALE AND FEMALE GIFTED ADOLESCENTS Males Females Scale Mean SD Mean SD F K Hs D HY PD _- MF sc PA PT 55 6.5 55 6.2 55 6.3 53 3.1 54 9.9 57 7.7 52 8.9 49 7.4 58 12.4 44 7.9 66 9.1 60 9.1 56 10.1 52 8.0 64 9.1 51 91 _- - . _ 56 8.9 56 9.1 58 10.4 53 7.1 59 10.4 55 6.9 MA 54 10.2 53 11.4 SI 53 10.3 52 10.0 WAlS IQ: Verbal 139.6 8.1 133.4 8.4 Performance 125.9 11.13 125.5 8.9 Total 135.7 7.8 131.9 6.4

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Page 1: MMPI profiles of gifted adolescents

MMPI PROFILES O F GIFTED ADOLESCENTS WALLACE A. KENNEDY

Florida State University

PROBLEM The literature('. 2 , on gifted adolescents contains many descriptions of their

personality. There is, however, a paucity of data collected on the personality pro- files of the highly productive group of gifted adolescents and no large-scale MMPI sampling. Profile data are desirable both to describe groups to have and a base line from which to compare the individual gifted child who presents a diagnostic problem relevant to his own emotional stability. Even though this group represents only a very small segment of the total adolescent population, they are certainly a highly significant minority.

PROCEDURE For three years the author has administered the MMPI to the group of math-

ematically gifted adolescents who attend the summer math institute a t Florida State University. This institute, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and under the direction of Dr. Eugene Nichols, brings together each summer about thirty high achievers in mathematics from high schools in most of the 50 states. The students who were on campus for six weeks of intensive and extensive exposure to higher mathematics were administered a battery of psychological tests by the staff of the Human Development Clinic.

These math students with a mean chronological age of 17.4 and showing no clinically evident psychopathology are exceptional on two counts : (a) their high intellectual ability (Wechsler I& mean of 134.9 and standard deviation of 7.7); and (b) their high productivity, both from the point of view of a superior general schol- astic record, and special mathematical achievement. They are able a t the eleventh grade level in high school to perform second and third-year college mathematics.

We have now accumulated 100 MMPI profiles from this sample during the three years that we have studied the group. There were 79 males and 21 females in the group and there were no validity T scores above 70.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Table 1 presents the mean and standard deviation for the scale scores of each

of the sub-scales of the MMPI. Both males and females are slightly high on the HY scale and the males are high on the MF scale. All other mean profiles were below a scale score of 60. Table 2 contains the intercorrelations between the scales which are

TABLE 1. MMPI SUB-SCALE MEANS AND SD's FOR MALE AND FEMALE GIFTED ADOLESCENTS

Males Females Scale Mean SD Mean SD

F K Hs D HY PD _ - MF

sc PA PT

55 6 . 5 55 6 . 2 55 6 . 3 53 3 . 1 54 9 . 9 57 7 .7 52 8 . 9 49 7 .4 58 12.4 44 7 .9 66 9 . 1 60 9 .1 56 10.1 52 8 .0 64 9 . 1 51 9 1 _ - - . _ 56 8.9 56 9 . 1 58 10.4 53 7.1 59 10.4 55 6 . 9

MA 54 10.2 53 11.4 SI 53 10.3 52 10.0

WAlS IQ: Verbal 139.6 8 . 1 133.4 8 . 4 Performance 125.9 11.13 125.5 8 . 9 Total 135.7 7 . 8 131.9 6 . 4

Page 2: MMPI profiles of gifted adolescents

MMPI PROFILES OF GIFTED ADOLESCENTS 149

significant a t the .01 level of significance. It is particularly interesting to note the correlation between the PT and Sc scales and the other scales. (The correlations be- tween the MMPI sub-scales and the WAIS sub-scales were not significant.) TABLE 2. CORRELATIONS Aaro~a THE MMPI SUB-SCALES S I Q N I F I C ~ AT .01 LEVEL FOR 79 M m s

Scales L F K Ha D Hy Pd Mf Pa Pt Sc Ma Si

(ABOVE TED DIAGONAL),^ 21 FEMALE^ (BEMW TEE DIAQONAL)

L .37 .27 F - .38 .47 .33 .57 .34 K .53 .48 .56 .32 - .47 HE .48 .30 .74 .38 .36 D .48 .42 .53 -52 -.37 .57

.58 .78 .27 .35 .33

.70 .34 .46 .42 Mf Pa .61 .57 .44 .27 Pt .43 .78 s c .49 .74 -52 .67 Ma - .n Si .55 .63 .56 - .50

.55 .38 .31 .32 .36 .38 3

SUMMARY These data indicate that the profile of the gifted adolescent is within normal

limits and that when one finds a superior person whose score deviates from the normal it is a clue to factors other than his high intelligence.

REFERENCES 1. KENNEDY, W. A., NELSON, W., LINDNER, R., TURNER, J. and MOON, H. Psychological measure-

2. KENNEDY! WALLACE A. and the Human Development Clinic Staff. A multi-dimensional study

3. KENNDDY, W. A., NELSON W., LINDNER, R., MOON, If., and TURNER, Jack. The ceiling of the

ments of future scientists. Psychological Reports, 1960, 7,515-517.

of mathematically gifted adolescents. ChiZd Deuelpm., 1960 31,655-666.

new Stanford-Binet. J . clin. bsychol., 1960,17, 284-286.

MMPI IN EPILEPTIC GROUPS WITH DIFFERENTIAL ETIOLOGY”

Indiana University Medical Center

PROBLEM

HALLGRIM KLtpVE AND DONALD Q. DOEHRINQ

Evidence for an “epileptic personality” has been critically reviewed by Hunt (1)

and Strauss(4). According to one point of view discussed by these writers, the per- sonality characteristics of epileptics are constitutionally determined in the same manner as their supposed constitutional predisposition to convulsive disorders. An alternative explanation makes no hypothesis concerning constitutional factors, but postulates an epileptic personality in terms of certain personality traits frequently observed in epileptic patients. Neither explanation is accepted by Hunt and Straws. Both writers report that personality disturbances are rare among noninstitutionaliz- ed epileptics. They conclude that observed instances of personality disturbances in epileptics may be the result of brain damage associated with the epileptic disorder,

+This study waa supported by Grant B-2416 from the National Institutes of Health, Division of Neurological Diseases and Blindness. The writers wish to thank Mrs. Jane Sanders for her assistance in this study.