Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education - Faculty of Social Sciences


Gifted students are often credited with higher levels of spirituality than non-gifted students, whether that be overall spirituality or aspects of spirituality. What has not previously been explored, however, is whether this aspect can be distinguished by type of giftedness. The current study aimed to contribute to filling that gap. The process utilised a theoretical framework that combined Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory with Françoys Gagné’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent. The resulting model, the Differentiated Model of Multiple Intelligence (DMMI; Walton, 2014), grounds spirituality in conceptions of both intelligence and giftedness.

The research sought to answer two research questions: 1) Do students’ spirituality levels vary as a function of sex and type of giftedness?; and 2) Do students’ spirituality levels also vary as a function of spiritual domain? A causalcomparative design was adopted, utilising an adapted version of the Integrated Spiritual Intelligence Scale (ISIS; Amram & Dryer, 2008). The participants were drawn from three high schools with different gifted specialisations: academic, creative and sport.

As there was no statistically significant difference between the sporting gifted and control scores, these two groups were combined into an extended Control for subsequent analyses. Results indicated that none of the gifted male groups differed significantly from each other in spirituality scores. Scores for the female groups, however, were all significantly different to each other. Academic female scores were similar to all male groups, Creative females scored significantly higher than all other groups (regardless of sex), while the score for Control females was significantly lower than all other groups (regardless of sex).

Overall, Creative appears to be higher in spirituality than either Academic or Sport, but whether this is due a higher innate spirituality or differences in thought processes is less clear. What is more apparent is that the different expressions of MI which are associated with the giftedness types can influence the level/domain of spirituality. Experiences that broaden aspects of MI should thus also broaden and deepen spirituality.