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Newman, C.J. (1973). "He can but he Won't"—A Psychodynamic Study of So-Called "Gifted Underachievers". Psychoanal. St. Child, 28:83-129.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 28:83-129

"He can but he Won't"—A Psychodynamic Study of So-Called "Gifted Underachievers"

C. Janet Newman, M.D.

WHEN CLEVER, ARTICULATE AND BEGUILING CHILDREN WHO OBTAIN high scores on both IQ and achievement tests experience prolonged academic failure, adults are puzzled and concerned. They sense the existence of strong adverse influences which oppose the natural impulses of most children to learn, master, and achieve. When gifted children fail miserably, something must be seriously amiss. Shakespeare said that "Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds."

Our interest in this problem was stimulated by experience with several highly intelligent children in intensive inpatient treatment at the Children's Psychiatric Center in Cincinnati. Although these children had IQs ranging from 130 to 160 and were generally able to read well and hence to acquire information, they had serious disabilities around academic performance and achievement.

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