Understanding the bullying dynamic among students in special and general education

J Sch Psychol. 2012 Aug;50(4):503-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 May 17.

Abstract

Students in general and special education experience bullying. However, few empirical investigations have examined involvement in bullying along the bully/victim continuum (i.e., as a bully, victim, or bully-victim) among students with disabilities. A total of 816 students, ages 9 to 16, participated in the present study. From this total sample 686 were not receiving special education services (categorized as "no disability"), and 130 were receiving special education services (categorized as "observable disability," "non-observable disability," and "behavioral disability"). Data on students' involvement in bullying, office referrals, and prosocial behavior were collected. Results indicated that students with behavioral disorders and those with observable disabilities reported bullying others more and being victimized more than their general education counterparts. Students with behavioral disorders also had significantly more office referrals than students in general education. Seventh graders in general education reported more bullying behavior than sixth graders and ninth grades in general education. Fifth graders in general education reported more victimization than students in all other grades in general education. However, the grade differences were not significant for students in special education. No gender differences on bullying and victimization were found. Students with disabilities reported less engagement in prosocial behaviors than their general education peers. Implications for bullying prevention and intervention across both general and special education are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Bullying / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Crime Victims
  • Education, Special*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Schools*
  • Students / psychology*