The literature indicates a need to better understand the psychological mechanisms underlying gifted adolescents’ stress and anxiety. This study aimed to reveal if the two distinct dimensions of the self-compassion construct, self-coldness, and self-compassion had mediating roles in the potential relationship between inferiority feelings and anxiety and stress experiences of gifted adolescents.
Structural equation modeling (SEM) was conducted using the cross-sectional data including a Turkish sample of 644 gifted adolescents (334 females and 310 males) aged between 14 and 18 (M = 15.89, SD = 1.00).
The results support that inferiority feelings are linked to greater anxiety through lower self-compassion and higher self-coldness. However, the indirect effect is much stronger through self-coldness than through self-compassion. Moreover, inferiority feelings are linked to higher stress levels only through higher self-coldness.
The findings not only emphasize that feeling inferior is associated with poorer mental health in gifted adolescents, but they also show that how gifted adolescents react to their feelings of inferiority, whether with self-compassion or self-coldness, plays an important role in the relationship between inferiority and mental health. By distinguishing between self-coldness and self-compassion, the results of this study can assist parents, researchers, and practitioners in improving their approach to addressing mental health issues among gifted adolescents.
This study is not preregistered.