A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach with Underachieving Gifted Youth
Underachievement is a complex phenomenon with multiple causes and definitions. Because the term implies failure to meet expectations, questions arise regarding the source of the expectations and whether they are appropriate (Delisle, 1992; Reis & McCoach, 2000). Uncertainty regarding what constitutes potential and how it should be measured is also a factor (Davis & Rimm, 2004). This is especially true for children and adolescents for whom real-world accomplishments are rarely an element in identification of giftedness. For this chapter, the underachiever is defined as a student whose actual academic performance in school is problematic in spite of an identification of intellectual or academic giftedness. Although procedures for the identification vary widely, this is the definition most common in literature about gifted underachievers (Bulter-Por, 1987; Reis & McCoach, 2000).