Understanding Underachievement - Journal deconstruction

Join us to delve into some of the research regarding perfectionism, underachievement and mindset with regards to gifted students. We will be looking at two articles with sound methodology and relevant findings. The abstracts and references for the resources are below - if you are able to access them prior to the event, please do. We hope to engage with you in a discussion around the importance of these concepts for gifted children, as we explore the academic literature.
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Kenmore Library - meeting rooms 1 and 2
9 Brookfield Road
Kenmore QLD 4069

Mofield, E., & Parker Peters, M. (2019). Understanding Underachievement: Mindset, Perfectionism, and Achievement Attitudes Among Gifted Students. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 42(2), 107–134. https://doi-org.ezproxy.une.edu.au/10.1177/0162353219836737


The current study compared differences between mindset beliefs about intelligence (fixed vs. growth), dimensions of perfectionism (Concern Over Mistakes, Doubt of Action, Personal Standards, Organization), and achievement attitudes among gifted underachievers (n = 15) and gifted achievers (n = 169) in Grades 6 to 8 and examined the relationship between mindset beliefs and dimensions of perfectionism. Gifted underachievers had higher fixed mindset beliefs about intelligence (d = .79), lower scores on Organization (d = −1.01), and lower Self-Regulation/Motivation (d = −1.17) when compared with gifted achievers. These factors also were statistically significant in logistic regression models predicting achievement status. In addition, for the entire sample of gifted students (N = 264), fixed mindset beliefs predicted both dimensions of Evaluative Concerns Perfectionism (Concern Over Mistakes, β = .35, p < .0001; Doubt of Action, β = .28, p < .0001), while growth mindset beliefs predicted both dimensions of Positive Strivings Perfectionism (Personal Standards, β = .35, p < .0001, and Organization, β = .21, p = .001). Our findings provide a clearer picture of the relationships among underachievement, perfectionism, implicit theories of intelligence, and achievement attitudes, providing guidance for affective interventions.


Grugan, M. C., et al. (2021). Perfectionism in Academically Gifted Students: A Systematic Review. Educational Psychology Review 33(4): 1631-1673.


Perfectionism has long been recognised as a psychological factor that can enhance or interfere with the healthy adjustment of young students who are academically gifted. However, it is apparent from existing research that a wide range of methods have been adopted to study perfectionism in this population. To identify what is currently known about perfectionism among these students and what future work needs to be undertaken, a systematic review of existing research is required. The aim of our study was to provide a first such review. In doing so, we utilised the two-factor perfectionism model which differentiates between perfectionistic strivings (PS) and perfectionistic concerns (PC). A systematic literature search returned 36 studies examining perfectionism in young students identified as academically gifted that varied in study characteristics, methodological quality, and findings. Of these studies, 24 adopted a variable-based approach to examining perfectionism (i.e., examined PS and PC) and 12 adopted a group-based approach to examining perfectionism (i.e., examined groups with varying levels of PS and PC). The findings show that the distinction between PS and PC is extremely important. Specifically, while PC are likely to be uniformly debilitating for students who are academically gifted, PS are associated with more mixed outcomes. This is also the case when the two dimensions of perfectionism are considered in combination, with levels of PC being the key factor in determining the outcomes associated with perfectionism. Future research needs to build on the existing evidence base in a systematic fashion and prioritise longitudinal research and intervention studies.






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For more information about this event please email west [at] qagtc.org.au


Bookings are now closed (as of 14/08/2023 - 17:00)