Author(s): HughJones S, Smith PK
BACKGROUND: Victimisation at school may result in long-term social, emotional and psychological effects (Parker & Asher, 1987; Sharp, 1995), particularly for children with special educational needs (Whitney et al., 1994). Children who stammer may be at risk of being bullied due to their peer-relationship and verbal difficulties. AIM: This study aimed to explore the nature, frequency and causes of bullying amongst children who stammer as well as the short- and long-term effects of their victimisation. SAMPLE: The sample consisted of 276 respondents from the British Stammering Association, a national association for dysfluent people. METHOD: A retrospective analysis of school experiences related to bullying, and its effects, was conducted through both semi-structured interviews and postal questionnaires. RESULTS: A majority of respondents had experienced bullying at school, and the likelihood of being bullied was related to the reported difficulties in friendship-making. Nearly one-half of teachers and families were reported as not being aware of this bullying. A majority reported immediate negative personal effects of this bullying, and 46% reported some long-term effects. CONCLUSION: Logistic regression analyses suggested that the severity of bullying, together with other factors such as difficulty with friendships, predicted these effects. COMMENT: In response to the high incidence of bullying experienced by children who stammer, a pack has been developed which aims to create a more empathetic school climate where differences are tolerated rather than assaulted.