Date of Award

8-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Social Work

Major Professor

David Dupper

Committee Members

Marcia Egan, William Nugent, Robert Kronick

Abstract

Purpose

This study examined the extent to which students reported that adults in a school setting had mistreated them. Specifically, this study provides findings on the students’ perceptions of the extent to which they were the victims of physical maltreatment and psychological maltreatment during their school careers. The study investigated whether the types or frequency of maltreatment was related to demographic characteristics of the student (i.e., race and gender).

Methods

The sample (N = 50) was composed of students in alternative education schools in the southeastern U.S. during the 2004-2005 school year. Students reported the frequency and types of maltreatment involving adult educators they experienced. A revised version of the Student Alienation and Trauma Survey (SATS) was utilized. Students also described their worst school experience.

Results

Eighty-six percent of students (n = 43) reported at least one incident of physical maltreatment by an adult educator; 88 % (n = 44) reported at least one incident of psychological maltreatment. The most frequently reported types of maltreatment perpetrated by adult educators included the following: prohibited from using the bathroom, grabbed, pushed, yelled at, disciplined unfairly, and isolated from peers. Sixty-four percent (n = 29) of students reported that an adult was involved in their worst school experience. Of these students, 43% (n = 19) reported that the experience upset him/her "a lot". Students’ descriptions included the following: being pushed into vending machines,being told by a teacher that she dressed like a "whore", being forced to urinate on himself because an educator refused to permit him to go to the bathroom, and being cussed at by a bus driver.

A multiple regression analyses indicated that gender and race combined accounted for 21% of the variance in physical maltreatment, adjusted R squared = .21, F (2, 47) = 7.54, p < .01. There was a significant effect of race on physical maltreatment, B = - 5.30, t (2, 47) = -3.86, p < .01, two tailed. Controlling for gender, minority students reported experiencing more physical maltreatment than whites. Gender did not account for a significant amount of the variability, B = -.77, t (2, 47) -.45, p = .65, two tailed.

Gender and race combined accounted for 11% of the variance in psychological maltreatment, adjusted R squared = .11, F (2, 47) = 3.92, p = .03. More specifically, race accounted for a significant amount of the variability in the psychological maltreatment score, B = -5.58, t (2, 47) = -2.76, p = .01, two tailed. Gender did not account for a significant amount of the variability, B = 1.17, t (2, 47) = .47, p = .64, two tailed.

Implications

Results from this study indicated that students experience a range of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of adult educators. The findings suggest that additional protections are needed in schools to prevent educators from misusing their positions of authority. Social workers should advocate for the inclusion of information about adult to student maltreatment in school violence prevention programs. Findings suggest that adult to student maltreatment in schools must be more thoroughly and systematically investigated in future research.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."

Included in

Social Work Commons

Share

COinS