Meaning in life is positively associated with mental and physical health, while a crisis of meaning is a painful existential state that is defined as a perceived lack of meaning. An earlier study has shown that academically high-achieving adults mostly experience existential fulfilment, while intellectually gifted adults have a disproportionally high risk of suffering from a crisis of meaning, which can weaken their potential fulfilment in life. To uncover the underlying mechanisms of how an existential crisis affects gifted adults’ mental health, this study examines the longitudinal relationship between crisis of meaning and subjective well-being via two mediators: self-control and resilience. A multiple mediation model was tested with longitudinal data (two times of measurement) of two gifted groups: intellectually gifted adults (HIQ; N = 100; 55% female) and academically high-achieving adults (HAA; N = 52; 29% female). Results suggest group differences: HIQ had higher crisis of meaning and lower self-control than the HAA. HIQ’s resilience (but not their self-control) and HAA’s self-control (but not their resilience) mediated the relationship between crisis of meaning and subjective well-being. These findings give initial insights about the distinct psychological needs of gifted adults and their different paths toward subjective well-being. These insights can be applied in future giftedness research, talent development programs, or counseling to support gifted individuals in living up to their potential. Thus, HIQ could benefit particularly from supporting their ability to cope with adversity, while HAA could benefit particularly from strengthening their willpower to modify undesired emotions, behaviors, and desires.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited