Examining the social vulnerability and victimisation of children with Asperger's syndrome

Elizabeth Dark (2007). Examining the social vulnerability and victimisation of children with Asperger's syndrome Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Elizabeth Dark
Thesis Title Examining the social vulnerability and victimisation of children with Asperger's syndrome
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2007-11
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Dr Kate Sofronoff
Total pages 91
Language eng
Subjects L
380100 Psychology
Formatted abstract
Children with Asperger’s syndrome have an intellectual capacity within the normal range but have specific impairments in theory of mind, social interaction and communication skills. Because of this cognitive profile, many could be described as ‘socially vulnerable’. The vast majority of these children receive their education in mainstream schools and the current research available shows they are bullied much more than their typically developing peers. Further, they often have co-occurring diagnoses of anxiety, anger and behavioural problems, making them vulnerable to victimisation. Yet, to date, there has been no empirical investigation into why children with Asperger’s syndrome are victimised. The current study aimed to determine some of the factors that predict bullying for children with Asperger’s syndrome, and also to examine a new measure of ‘social vulnerability’: the Social Vulnerability Scale (SVS). 133 parents of children with Asperger’s syndrome completed the SVS and 92 of these parents also completed questionnaires measuring anxiety, anger, behavioural problems and social skills. The results revealed that parents reported their children with Asperger’s syndrome displayed higher levels of social vulnerability, anxiety, anger, behavioural problems and lower levels of social skills than was typical. Furthermore, a regression analysis revealed that these same variables together strongly predicted bullying, but that socially vulnerability explained the greatest part of the variance, suggesting that it was a unique predictor of bullying in children with Asperger’s syndrome. Quantitative analyses of the SVS revealed it to have excellent internal reliability and good-test-retest reliability and factor analysis revealed two subscales: gullibility and credulity. Qualitative analyses of the SVS discovered parent’s viewed social vulnerability as a big problem in their children, leading to victimisation. Limitations of the study were acknowledged and clinical implications and suggestions for future research were discussed.
Keyword Asperger's syndrome

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Professional Doctorates - UQ staff and students only
Citation counts: Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 02 Sep 2008, 15:48:54 EST by Andrew Bennett on behalf of School of Psychology