Gifted late adolescent males experiencing and coping with emotional overexcitability
Lathrop, Deborah Prudden
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Emotional overexcitability is a characteristic of gifted individuals. Because of thefeminine attributes of high emotionality, however, emotional overexcitability can beproblematic for males, particularly those in late adolescence who are dealing withindividuation and identity concerns. Studies on emotional overexcitability have notaddressed the population of late adolescent males -- ages 19-25. We have not heard thevoices of this particular population to know what their experience of this overexcitabilityis like. We are also unaware of how they cope with this overexcitability given thepropensity to hide their emotionality. This study examines both of these issues to give amore complete picture of the experience and coping strategies of gifted, late adolescentmales. The findings indicate that all five participants had intense emotional experiencesthat seemed to bring about depression, loneliness, self-berating behavior and beingoverwhelmed. Coping strategies included detachment, spiritual experiences and usingmethods that capitalized on their other overexcitability strengths. Implications forparents, teachers and counselors of gifted adolescent males are presented.KEY WORDS: emotional overexcitability, late adolescent males, androgyny, depression,loneliness, detachment, perfectionism, masochism, emotion-focused coping.