The Maria Grzegorzewska University (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 4535-4541
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.1135
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Regardless of the age, people are prone to engage in social comparison. Apart from the informative value of social comparison for the self, the need for comparison-based information arises particularly in threatening situations (Vohs, Heatherton, 2004), stress (Buunk, 2011), or under novelty and uncertainty conditions. We argue that students with dyslexia in the classroom are vulnerable to most of the circumstances triggering social comparison process. Namely, due to educational difficulties caused by dyslexia, they experience high level of stress in school setting and are deeply anxious about their academic performance (Alexander-Passe, 2007). Considering the educational difficulties of youngsters with dyslexia, it is surprising that until now it has been the gap in research on the direction or function of social comparison in the classroom made by adolescents facing dyslexia.

This study aims at capturing social comparison in the classroom undertaken by students with dyslexia controlling their sense of coherence as potential factor contributing to the evaluation of own abilities compared to others. In details, we measured how students with and without dyslexia evaluate their abilities as compared to other students in the classroom. Additionally, we embedded social comparison of the abilities within two temporal orientations. Namely, we measured how students with and without dyslexia evaluated their current abilities and their expectations regarding future abilities. Since the upward social comparison is considered as beneficial for the self-esteem and psychosocial adaptation (Marsh, Parker, 1984), we aimed at searching for the factor that could strengthen the perception of their own abilities (both current and future) by students with dyslexia. We focused on the sense of coherence (SOC) hypothesizing its positive contribution to the evaluation of current and future abilities made by the students with dyslexia as compared to others in the classroom.

Data were collected from 116 students with developmental dyslexia and 160 students without developmental dyslexia (Mean age = 14.35; SD=1.10) for students without dyslexia Social Comparison Scale (SCS, Rutkowska, Gosk, Dominiak-Kochanek, 2018) was used to measure the evaluation of current and future abilities as compared to other in the classroom. SCS consists of two subscales serving to measure respectively evaluation of current abilities and future abilities. Participants were asked to rate (from 1 - much worse to 5 - much better), how they evaluate their skills to learn new things as compared to others in the classroom now and in the future. To measure sense of coherence, a short version of SOC questionnaire was used based on Antonovsky's SOC concept.

The results showed that the evaluation of the current and future abilities as compared to others in the classroom were lower in students with dyslexia than youth without dyslexia. Further, SOC was an insignificant predictor of the way students with dyslexia evaluated their current ability but positively contributed to the evaluation of their future abilities made through the social comparison. It suggests that in spite of the existing difficulties in reading and writing, which hamper their positive evaluation of the current abilities as compared to others, students characterized by high SOC and dyslexia aspire to self-improvement in the future.
Social comparison, sense of coherence, dyslexia.