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“BULLY/VICTIM PROBLEMS AND SELF-EFFICACY FOR PEER INTERACTIONS AMONG CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS IN MAINSTREAM SCHOOLS”

E. Didaskalou, E. Andreou, A. Vlachou

University of Thessaly (GREECE)
Despite the surge of interest on school bullying in recent years, much of the research has focused on its multiple facets and characteristics among non-disabled students, while little is known about its incidence and dimensions in the population of students receiving special education support provision. Taking into consideration children’s with SENs own perspective on their social situation is essential for understanding bullying and victimization in schools. Students’ understanding of their social relationships is closely associated with their perceived efficacy to demonstrate prosocial persuasive skills through peer interactions which in turn affects interpersonal behaviour and predicts subsequent social outcomes.
In the light of above, the present study aimed at: a) establishing the frequency of bullying and victimization among pupils with SENs and identifying the specific forms of victimization that take place within mainstream schools and b) investigating the relationship between bully/victim problems, and perceptions of self-efficacy for peer interactions among pupils with SENs.
The sample consisted of 178 students attending 5th and 6th primary school grades and participating in pull-out special education delivery programs operating within mainstream schools. According to the findings, participants were actively involved in both bullying and victimization with higher rates in victimization. Bullying was mainly related to physical aggressiveness, humiliating and racist behaviors towards others and social isolation from peers, while victimization included destruction of personal belongings and being attacked. Statistically significant differences were identified between girls and boys over the different types of bullying and victimization getting involved in, with girls experiencing mostly social isolation and manipulation from others and boys displaying aggressiveness towards others and attacking peers. Significant negative associations were observed between bullying and victimization and perceived social efficacy for conflict and non- conflict situations and total scores of self-efficacy for peer interactions respectively. The implications of the study for promoting students’ with SENs social inclusion are discussed.