Examining the Opportunities and Access to Gifted Programs

Unintended Social and Emotional Consequences


  • Canaan Eident
  • Michael Matthews, Ph.D.
  • Cindy Gilson, Ph.D.
  • Erik Byker, Ph.D.




The purpose of this article is to examine the social and emotional consequences of the inequity of access to gifted programs in the United States’ school system. To complete this study, we used a  modified version of the PRISMA method to conduct a systematic literature review about the following research questions: What are the social and emotional aspects of gifted programs? What are the positive social and emotional aspects of gifted programs? What are the negative aspects of gifted programs especially for students that are not in the programs? Following the PRISMA method, we used academic databases, like ERIC, using multiple keywords such as academically gifted, gifted programs, consequences, and student perceptions. Both quantitative and qualitative studies were included, as well as peer reviewed scholarly articles relating to consequences of the gifted program. The findings include negative consequences such as a sense of elitism in the school environment, perfectionistic tendencies in gifted students, and an underrepresentation of students of color in gifted programs. In addition to negative consequences, there were also positive aspects of the access and opportunities for selection into gifted programs including an elevated motivation in gifted students and heightened time management skills from the increased rigor in coursework.