Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Rachel Miller-Slough

Thesis Professor Department

<--College of Arts and Sciences-->

Thesis Reader(s)

Andrea Clements


Intellectual giftedness can affect students in a variety of ways. Research often examines some of these potential effects, such as how giftedness impacts performance in school or attitude regarding academics. However, little research has been done on whether gifted students are more driven by internal pressures to succeed that they place on themselves or by external pressures to succeed that are placed on them by others. The present study examined how perfectionism (an internal pressure) and parental expectations (an external pressure) might affect a student’s self-esteem and achievement. Participants were 250 undergraduate students (M age = 20.35 years old, M GPA = 3.53) who completed an online survey. Different aspects of perfectionism had unique associations with self-esteem, whereas parental expectations were not associated with self-esteem. Perfectionism, parental expectations, and self-esteem were not associated with academic achievement. Taken together, it appears that internal pressure, specifically concern over mistakes, corresponds to lower self-esteem, whereas having high personal standards may be adaptive. Implications and future research are discussed.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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