Top of page
Health

Covert bullying higher among young girls with disabilities

friends bullying a girl in hallway of elementary school

A new South Australian study has found a serious problem of covert bullying in schools, particularly in relation to girls with disabilities.

The work, led by University of South Australia researcher Dr Anna Moffat, reveals that 57 per cent of girls with disabilities in upper primary school have experienced covert bullying where they are excluded from social circles, rejected, subjected to vicious rumours, whispering and threatening looks.

While boys with disabilities are also bullied more than their peers, this difference was greatest in high school.

The research team, including Professor Gerry Redmond and Associate Professor Pammi Raghavendra from Flinders University, used data from the Australian Child Wellbeing Project, a survey of 4753 Australian children aged 8-14 years, 490 of whom identified as living with a disability.

They looked at the influence of family, peer and teacher support on the prevalence of covert bullying in children with and without disabilities and whether there were any differences in gender or age.

Girls with disabilities in Years 4-6 reported significantly lower levels of teacher and family support and significantly higher levels of covert bullying (57 per cent compared to 28 per cent among girls without disability).

“This study is unique in that children between 8-14 years of age self-identified as living with a disability, whereas most studies use diagnosis to classify students. This self-identification gives further credibility to our findings.”

The findings of the study are reported in the Journal of School Violence.

You might also like

female teacher sitting at desk with a Down syndrome schoolboy female teacher sitting at desk with a Down syndrome schoolboy

NSW expands disability support classes in mainstream schools

An extra 243 support classes have been approved to open…

Doctor's hand holds test tube in blood Doctor's hand holds test tube in blood

HIV testing disparities identified in intellectual disability care

People with disabilities are often at higher risk for exposure…

man holding his painful knee man holding his painful knee

Rheumatoid arthritis drug shows preventive potential in clinical trial

Results from a Phase 2b clinical trial, published in The…

a teenage with autism relaxing with rocking chair a teenage with autism relaxing with rocking chair

Rising number of at-risk youth with autism and ID in US foster care

Youth with foster care involvement have an increased risk for…