04 SES 12 A, Friendships, Friendship Quality and Friendship Stability Between Students with and Without Special Educational Needs
The recent past has been a resurgence of sociometric studies seeking to ascertain the social position students with SEN occupy and the level of acceptance they enjoy within their class network and, to a lesser extent their participation in peer groups (Avramidis et al, 2017). This line of research has consistently reported that integrated students with SEN are less accepted and more rejected by their mainstream classmates, they tend to occupy a less favourable social position, they have fewer friendships and generally experience more social difficulties than their average-to-high-achieving peers (Avramidis, 2013; Koster et al, 2010; Pijl, Frostad & Flem, 2008). However, most research on the social relations of students with SEN has described static situations and only a few studies performed measurements at two different points in the same school year or annually at the same time of the year. The present study differs from its predecessors since it examined differences in the sociometric status of children with SEN over a period of three academic years. The first assessment was conducted in the academic year 2013-2014 and involved applying a sociometric technique to a sample of 412 students (31 with SEN and their 381 typically achieving peers) aged between 10 and 12 years, drawn from the 4th, 5th and 6th grades of five regular primary schools in Greece. Additionally, the students’ social self-concept and the quality of their best friendship were determined through the administration of two relevant psychometric instruments (Marsh, 1990; Bukowski, Hoza & Boivin, 1994). The second assessment was conducted in the academic year 2016-2017 and involved locating the same students with SEN in secondary settings and implementing the same research design. In addition, the research involved eliciting the students’ perceptions of a list of socio-emotional skills namely ‘assertion and leadership’; ‘interpersonal communication’; ‘cooperation with peers’; ‘self-control’; ‘emotional management’; and ‘empathy’. In line with previous research efforts (Avramidis, et al, 2017), the students with SEN were found to enjoy reduced peer-acceptance on both administrations with their sociometric status remaining fairly stable over the course of three school years. Friendship quality emerged as a key factor affecting the students’ social development. Moderate correlations were detected between peer-acceptance and socio-emotional skills. The paper concludes with outlining the importance of supporting the students’ socio-emotional development through implementing relevant school-based interventions.
Avramidis, E. (2013). Self-concept, social position and social participation of pupils with SEN in mainstream primary schools. Research Papers in Education, 28(4), 421-442. Avramidis, E., Strogilos, V., Aroni, K., & Kantaraki, C. T. (2017). Using sociometric techniques to assess the social impacts of inclusion: Some methodological considerations. Educational Research Review, 20, 68-80. Bukowski, W. M., Hoza, B., & Boivin, M. (1994). Measuring friendship quality during pre-and early adolescence: The development and psychometric properties of the Friendship Qualities Scale. Journal of social and Personal Relationships, 11(3), 471-484. Koster, M., Pijl, S. J., Nakken, H., & Van Houten, E. (2010). Social participation of students with special needs in regular primary education in the Netherlands. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 57(1), 59-75. Marsh, H. W. (1990). A multidimensional, hierarchical model of self-concept: Theoretical and empirical justification. Educational psychology review, 2(2), 77-172. Pijl, S. J., Frostad, P., & Flem, A. (2008). The social position of pupils with special needs in regular schools. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 52(4), 387-405.
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