Exposure to bullying among students with autism spectrum conditions: A multi-informant analysis of risk and protective factors

Judith Hebron, Neil Humphrey

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Abstract

Research has consistently shown that children and young people with autism spectrum conditions are more likely to be bullied than those with other or no special educational needs. The aim of this study was to examine risk and protective factors that could help to explain variation in exposure to bullying within this group. A sample of 722 teachers and 119 parents reported on their child's experience of being bullied. This response variable was regressed onto a range of explanatory variables representing individual and contextual factors. The teacher- and parent-rated regression models were statistically significant, explaining large proportions of variance in exposure to bullying. Behaviour difficulties and increased age were associated with bullying in both models. Positive relationships and attending a special school were associated with a decrease in bullying in the teacher model, with use of public/school transport predicting an increase. In the parent model, special educational needs provision at School Action Plus (as opposed to having a Statement of Special Educational Needs) was a significant risk factor, and higher levels of parental engagement and confidence were associated with reductions in bullying. These findings are discussed in relation to the autism spectrum conditions literature, and opportunities for intervention are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-630
Number of pages13
JournalAutism
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bullying
  • protection
  • risk
  • school
  • victimisation

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