First Advisor

Richard Sonnen

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Public School Administration and Supervision






Self-perception, Learning disabilities, Children with mental disabilities -- Education -- Psychological aspects



Physical Description

4, viii, 223 leaves 28 cm.


The intent of this research was to explore special education labeling interactions with measured student self-concept on the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale. An extensive literature review revealed that there are eight major variables which have been found to exert an influence upon student self-concept: achievement, age, sex, socioeconomic status, ethnic origin, place in family, significant others, and special class placement. This study was designed to examine these major self-concept variables and control for any significant variations between groups of learning disabled (LD) labeled students and nonlabeled regular students with equivalent math and reading achievement. Collection of data for use in this research occurred on two levels. Parents and subjects completed consent and demographic information sheets. The demographic information sheets provided information to assist in controlling for external variables, which research has shown to impact self-concept, as well as for probing parental perceptions of subject association with and internalization of handicapping condition labels. Once parents and subjects consented to participate in the study, subjects from both groups were administered the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale. Subjects also completed a researcher-developed Student Information Sheet (SIS). From a total of 127 subjects who were randomly selected, 44 subjects and their families elected to participate in this research. The final study sample included 18 LD subjects and 26 regular classroom students. Data were gathered and analyzed to determine how much explained variance could be attributed to LD labeled students as compared to regular nonlabeled students. Through examination of seven from the eight major variables (the achievement variable had already been controlled for via stratified random sampling), this study found significant (p < .05) variations between groups for age (p = .0034) and placement (p = .000). Group variations approached significance on sex (p = .074). Findings indicated that LD labeled students had lower global self-concept scores on the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale than the regular education students (t-test p = .079, ANOVA p = .051). These approaching significant variations on global self-concept scores might be attributed to four independent or interacting external variables: age, placement, sex, or labeling influences.


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Portland State University. School of Education.

Persistent Identifier