Personality assessment of intellectually gifted adults: a dimentional trait approach

Referenti: Margherita Lang

Periodo: 2017 – 2018

Partner: Associazione Mensa Italia


Personality is often assessed by measuring the severity of dimensional traits regardless of intellectual functioning. However, extreme deviations from average cognitive abilities affect biological, psychological, and social characteristics, to the extent that they may lead to atypical trajectories of development. The present study examined subclinical personality traits of intellectually gifted adults who unlikely fulfill traditional criteria for psychopathological diagnosis. Seventy-five intellectually gifted individuals (i.e., at least one WAIS-IV Index>130) completed the DAPPBQ. Their scores were compared to a control group. Age range was the same across the two groups (18–45 years). Gender differences were then examined within the gifted group. The group of gifted individuals reported significant higher scores on eight DAPP-BQ scales. A large effect size was found on Rejection trait; medium effect sizes on Narcissism and Low Affiliation traits. Identity Problems, Callousness, Restricted Expression, Compulsivity, and Suspiciousness were associated with small effect sizes. Moreover, gifted women reported higher scores than gifted men. Dysfunctional traits of gifted adults may contribute to interpersonal maladjustments. This may be the consequence of poor emotional attunement and inappropriate support that they received in childhood for their superior intellectual abilities. Sociocultural issues may maintain these psychological vulnerabilities, especially within gifted women.


Matta, M., Gritti, E., Lang, M., (2019) “Personality assessment of intellectually gifted adults: A dimensional trait approach”. Personality and Individual Differences, 140, pp. 21-26