Parent Perceptions of Social Vulnerability of Students With Disabilities: Experience of and Coping with Victimization
Werth, Jilynn Marie
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This study investigated the role of social vulnerability (i.e., credulity and gullibility) in predicting experiences of general peer victimization and coping strategies used by students with disabilities using the Social Vulnerability Scale (Sofronoff, Dark, & Stone, 2011), an adapted version of the California Bullying Victimization Questionnaire (Felix, Sharkey, Green, Furlong, & Tanigawa, 2011), and a general peer victimization-specific coping strategies scale (Visconti, Scheler, & Kochenderfer-Ladd, 2013). Two hundred and forty five parent reports were collected across disability classification (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorders, Intellectually Disability, & Specific Learning Disability), child age (i.e., 10–21), and class placement (e.g., general education, special education, special school). In order to obtain participants within the desired population (i.e., parents or guardians of victimized children with disabilities [grades 3–12]), one hundred twenty three participants were excluded from the initial sample of two hundred and forty five, resulting in a sample of 122. Based on the results of the power analysis, moderator analyses were run with the general peer victimized sample ( n = 122), but not the bully victimized subsample ( n = 47). Using the SPSS add-on, PROCESS macro (Hayes, 2013), a series of simple moderation analyses were used to test whether gullibility, disability classification, and child age moderated the relationship between credulity and general peer victimization of students with disabilities. Multiple linear regressions were also run to uncover the pattern of coping strategies (i.e., Involve a Parent, Involve a Teacher, Involve a Friend, Minimize/Ignore, and Retaliation) predicted by student with disabilities’ level of credulity and gullibility. Gullibility, disability classification, and child age did not moderate the relationship between credulity and general peer victimization. In fact, higher levels of gullibility, not credulity, predicted increased general peer victimization. Credulity and gullibility were not related to the use of any of the measured coping strategies. Findings from this study highlight the complexity of the contribution of credulity and gullibility on general peer victimization of students with disabilities and the need for further research to elucidate underlying mechanisms. Understanding the relationship between credulity and gullibility and general peer victimization and bullying victimization may be an important prevention and intervention strategy that is unique to students with disabilities, as well as a strategy that mitigates the negative impact of general peer victimization.