Portland State University. Social Work and Social Research Ph.D. Program
Laurie E. Powers
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research
Social Work and Social Research
1 online resource (xvi, 189 pages)
Teenagers with disabilities -- Psychology, Teenagers -- Oregon -- Social conditions, Social adjustment in adolescence -- Oregon
Youth with disabilities experience greater levels of victimization than non-disabled youth. However, little is known about the associations between peer victimization and disability status alone and in combination with sex and race/ethnicity, or with sex and sexual orientation. Further, little is known about the extent to which exposure to peer victimization mediates the relationship between disability status and psychosocial distress. Thus, one purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which disability status, as a marker of social difference, alone and in combination with other social identities, is associated with differential levels of exposure to peer victimization. A secondary purpose of this research was to examine whether the relationship between disability status and psychological distress is mediated by exposure to peer victimization, and if so, whether the mediation is moderated by sex.
This study analyzed complex survey data, using the 2008 Oregon Healthy Teen dataset, which included 7091 students in 11th grade. Intersectional analyses were conducted to determine the extent to which the student's social status (disability, sex, race, and sexual orientation) was associated with exposure to peer victimization. Results from a series of logistic regressions suggest that disability status is highly associated with exposure to peer victimization. Further, the relationship between disability status and peer victimization changes, and the magnitude of change varies, by specific intersectional status. The relative magnitude of increased odds among students with disabilities reporting peer victimization grew considerably when considered in combination with race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. Results from the mediation analyses confirmed that exposure to peer victimization mediated the relationship between disability status and psychosocial distress; however, there was little support for sex as a moderator.
These findings have the potential to guide development of interventions and strategies (e.g., policies, mechanisms for reporting victimization) to safeguard the health of all students, with particular attention to those at highest risk for peer victimization in the school context. Future research should examine factors in the school environment related to exposure to peer victimization, utilizing an intersectional approach, with attention to differences on multiple non-dominant culture statues.
McGee, Marjorie Grace, "Lost in the Margins? Intersections Between Disability and Other Non-Dominant Statuses with Regard to Peer Victimization and Psychosocial Distress Among Oregon Teens" (2013). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1099.