Risk Factors in the Development of Behaviour Difficulties Among Students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities: A Multi-Level Analysis

Jeremy Oldfield, Neil Humphrey, Judith Hebron

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    81 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Background: Students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are more likely to exhibit behaviour difficulties than their typically developing peers. Aim: Little is known about specific factors that influence variability among individuals in this group. Sample: The study sample comprised 4228 students with SEND, aged 5 to 15, drawn from 305 primary and secondary schools across England. Method: Explanatory variables were measured at the individual and school levels at baseline, along with a teacher reported measure of behaviour difficulties (assessed at baseline and at 18-month follow-up). Results: Hierarchical linear modelling of data revealed that differences between schools accounted for between 13% (secondary) and 15.4% (primary) of the total variance in the development of students’ behaviour difficulties, with the remainder attributable to individual differences. Statistically significant risk markers for these problems across both phases of education were: being male, eligibility for free school meals, being identified as a bully, and lower academic achievement. Additional risk markers specific to each phase of education at the individual and school levels are also acknowledged. Conclusion: Behaviour difficulties are affected by risks across multiple ecological levels. Addressing any one of these potential influences is therefore likely to contribute to the reduction of the problems displayed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)146-169
    JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
    Volume87
    Issue number2
    Early online date7 Feb 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

    Keywords

    • Behaviour difficulties
    • special educational needs and disabilities
    • risk factors

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