The effects of an affective curriculum on perfectionism and coping in gifted middle school students

Emily Lynne Mofield, Tennessee State University


This study investigated the effects of an affective curriculum on perfectionism and coping among sixth, seventh, and eighth grade gifted students. The study also determined differences among gender and grade level on perfectionism and coping in response to academic stress and determined specific dimensions of perfectionism as predictors for coping. A quasi-experimental non-equivalent control group design was employed. All participants (N = 153) completed pretests of the Goals and Work Habits Survey and the Self-Report Coping Scale at two time points (pretesting and posttesting). The experimental group received affective curriculum, created from a developmental primary intervention model, consisting of nine 45-50 minute lessons in a gifted pull-out classroom setting for six weeks. No significant intervention effects were found when comparing control and experimental groups. However, when looking at participants with moderate to high levels of unhealthy perfectionism, ANOVA procedures showed the experimental group's Concern over Mistakes scores were lower than the control group. Results of paired t-tests further revealed significant decreases in Concern over Mistakes, Doubt of Action, Personal Standards, and Unhealthy Perfectionism Total among unhealthy perfectionists in the experimental group. Results of ANOVAs also showed that gifted girls display higher levels of healthy perfectionism (Personal Standards and Organization) and approach-type coping (Seeking Social Support) compared to gifted boys. Moreover, gifted boys displayed higher scores of avoidance-type coping (Externalizing and Distancing). Participants in sixth grade reported higher Organization, and approach-type coping (Seeking Social Support and Problem-solving) than participants in seventh and eighth grade. Unhealthy dimensions of perfectionism (CM, PE, PC, and DA) predicted Avoidance coping while healthy dimensions of perfectionism (PS and O) predicted Approach coping. Translating multidimensional perfectionism theory into classroom-based interventions was successful in helping students decrease self-critical evaluative tendencies; however, the study showed no evidence of enhancing healthy perfectionism. Implications also include targeting older students (i.e., grades 7 and 8) and gifted boys as populations for increasing healthy perfectionism and positive coping. Findings suggest that gifted education programs consider addressing the emotional needs of gifted students through affective curriculum, especially in light of pressures presented from No Child Left Behind. Future directions for research are discussed.

Subject Area

Special education|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Emily Lynne Mofield, "The effects of an affective curriculum on perfectionism and coping in gifted middle school students" (2008). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3320203.