Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Norma Lu Hafenstein

Second Advisor

Paul Michalec

Third Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Fourth Advisor

Bin Ramke


Bibliotherapy, Gifted, Gifted education, Metacognition, Reading, Self-determining bibliotherapy


Gifted individuals have unique socioemotional needs due to their sensitivity and intensities. Bibliotherapy is often recommended to gifted persons to help them understand themselves and others and to address affective needs. However, bibliotherapy’s roots are embedded within a clinical background, thus requiring an element of discussion. Instead, I argue that gifted adults use metacognition to replace the need for discussion. Portraits of gifted adult readers (N=7) in their 30s-50s illustrate that metacognition has occurred over their lifespan regarding their reading, with only one participant actively engaging in discussion, and book selection meets the socioemotional needs of the reader. The findings show that using literature to meet the socioemotional needs of a reader without engaging in formal discussion and instead utilizing metacognition is a new form of bibliotherapy, defined as self-determining bibliotherapy.

Portraits were synthesized into four themes: gifted reading, reading to address affective needs, the bibliotherapeutic process, and metacognition and annotation. Portraits examine gifted adult readers over their lifespan, using the lens of the bibliotherapeutic process as the conceptual framework for the study: identification (recognizing), catharsis (feeling), insight (thinking), and universalization (applying) (Halstead, 2009). Each portrait’s resonant refrain is the form for reading; however, there is overlap in these forms across participants. Commonalities across portraits include: searching for identity, feelings of social isolation, self-doubt through imposter syndrome, reliance on audiobooks or podcasts in adulthood to allow for multitasking, meaningful novels, and using metacognition. The novels that the gifted readers spoke about over their lifespans had long-lasting effects, with some participants returning to meaningful novels throughout their lives. The adults engaged in self-determining bibliotherapy when using metacognition and applying the bibliotherapeutic process to their readings. This action can be covert or overt. Self-determining bibliotherapy also requires us to broaden the definition of discussion to include internal conversations through engagement with metacognition, annotations, and over lapses of time.

Copyright Date


Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

All Rights Reserved
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Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jervaise M. Pileggi


Received from ProQuest

File Format



English (eng)


294 pgs

File Size

2.4 MB


Gifted education, Education