Nav: Home

Bullying rates remain higher for children with disabilities, even as they mature

November 28, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. - More than 22 percent of children ages 12-18 say they have been bullied in school within the last month; a significant portion of those children have disabilities. However, little research exists on how bullying rates for individual children change over time. Now, a University of Missouri researcher and bullying expert has determined that children with disabilities are victimized by bullying at a much higher rate over time than their peers without disabilities. The study also revealed that this discrepancy in victimization and bullying perpetration rates remains consistent as children age. Chad Rose, an assistant professor of special education in the MU College of Education, says this indicates that children with disabilities are not developing adequate social skills to combat bullying as they mature.

"This study points out the necessity for special education programs to teach appropriate response skills to children with disabilities," Rose said. "Schools need to further develop these programs by tailoring social development goals for each individual student to ensure they are learning the social skills that will help them prevent bullying from occurring. Prior research has shown that children with disabilities, when bullied, may react aggressively when they lack appropriate response skills. Teaching these students how to communicate more effectively with their peers and with teachers can help them react to bullying in more positive ways, as well as prevent it from occurring at all."

Over the course of three years, more than 6,500 children from grades 3-12 were surveyed about their experiences with bullying; 16 percent of the children surveyed had disabilities, specifically learning disabilities, emotional disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Rose and Nicholas Gage, an assistant professor from the University of Florida, found that bullying rates across the board peaked in third grade, were reduced drastically in middle school and then rose again during high school. However, while mirroring this trend, bullying rates for children with disabilities remained consistently higher than those without disabilities.

"Studying how individual children are victimized by bullying over time has revealed that children with disabilities are not learning how to effectively respond to victimization," Rose said. "As children continued to mature, we expected to see that they would slowly develop social skills that would help them combat victimization and close the gap with children without disabilities, but that was not the case. Their rates of bullying victimization remained consistently higher, which shows that current intervention approaches are not effectively preparing these children who are most at-risk for bullying involvement."

Rose says that many schools have devoted less and less time over the years to teaching social skills to all students, in exchange for increased focus on common core subjects and standardized test preparation. He says schools should refocus some of their efforts on teaching important social skills, especially to children with disabilities.
-end-
The study, "Exploring the Involvement of Bullying Among Students With Disabilities Over Time," was published in Exceptional Children.

University of Missouri-Columbia

Related Bullying Articles:

Arts-based method to detect school bullying
Co-authors Daria Hanolainen and Elena Semenova created and tested an experimental method of graphical vignettes - a set of incomplete comic strips which kids are asked to complete using their own creative vision.
Bullying gets worse as children with autism get older
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to experience bullying than children without ASD and this bullying gets worse with age, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Does obesity increase risk of being a bullying victim, perpetrator, or both?
A new study has shown that obese adolescents are not only significantly more likely to experience bullying, but they are also more likely to be both victims and perpetrators of bullying compared to their healthy weight peers.
Study examines consequences of workplace bullying
New research reveals how frequently being the target of workplace bullying not only leads to health-related problems but can also cause victims to behave badly themselves.
Bullying linked to student's pain medication use
In a school-based survey study of all students in grades 6, 8, and 10 in Iceland, the use of pain medications was significantly higher among bullied students even when controlling for the amount of pain they felt, as well as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
Teen girls more vulnerable to bullying than boys
Girls are more often bullied than boys and are more likely to consider, plan, or attempt suicide, according to research led by a Rutgers University-Camden nursing scholar.
Bullying among adolescents hurts both the victims and the perpetrators
About a tenth of adolescents across the globe have been the victim of psychological or physical violence from their classmates.
Bullying evolves with age and proves difficult to escape from
An international team from the Universities of Cordoba, Cambridge and Zurich conducted a study on bullying roles among peers.
The more the merrier? Children with multiple siblings more susceptible to bullying
A child with more than one brother or sister is more likely to be the victim of sibling bullying than those with only one sibling, and firstborn children and older brothers tend to be the perpetrators, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
How bullying affects the brain
The effects of constantly being bullied are more than just psychological.
More Bullying News and Bullying Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Processing The Pandemic
Between the pandemic and America's reckoning with racism and police brutality, many of us are anxious, angry, and depressed. This hour, TED Fellow and writer Laurel Braitman helps us process it all.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#568 Poker Face Psychology
Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Invisible Allies
As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they've come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather this viral storm. To kick things off, we travel through time from a homeless shelter to a military hospital, pondering the pandemic-fighting power of the sun. And then, we dive deep into the periodic table to look at how a simple element might actually be a microbe's biggest foe. This episode was reported by Simon Adler and Molly Webster, and produced by Annie McEwen and Pat Walters. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.