Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Scott Hunsaker


Scott Hunsaker


Ryan Knowles


Sherry Marx


Tyler Renshaw


Suzanne H. Jones


Bullying, in all its forms (e.g., verbal, physical, cyber, social ostracism), is a continual problem in public schools. It exacerbates the painfully high suicide rate among early adolescent students, especially in the western U.S., with some evidence showing distinctions within the academically advanced gifted and talented (GT) cohort. Research shows GT students (GTs) are bullied at nearly double the rate of the mainstream population. Yet, quantitative statistics indicate GTs and non-GTs suffer comparable rates of trauma internalization, suicide ideation, and suicide. Some quantitative differences do start to appear with further personality distinctions. This points to a possibility that qualitative dissimilarities may best explain why GTs either respond similarly or differently to ill treatment.

Using case studies, the findings of this investigation suggested how and why six distinctive GTs coped with bullying behaviors. The results indicated the potential need for more nuanced antibullying approaches that focus on the unique needs of each student, not the typical one-size-fits-all consequence-oriented school-wide program. Past research has shown such programs having limited effectiveness in their attempts to ameliorate bullying behaviors. Essentially, it may be time to try a more student-centered personality approach to the bullying problem in U.S. public schools.