University of Limerick
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The characteristics, life circumstances and self-concept of 13 year olds with and without disabilities in Ireland: A secondary analysis of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study

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Background Population-based studies provide important data to inform policy and service planning for vulnerable children in society. The aim of this study was to characterise social and educational circumstances and self-concept among a nationally representative sample of 13 year olds with developmental disabilities in Ireland. Methods A cross-sectional, secondary analysis of data collected from the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study was conducted. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate the reported prevalence of disabilities as reported by parents. Differences across the groups (those with and without disabilities) were analysed in relation to gender, socio-economic and school factors. Special education support received in school was described. The association between low self-concept scores (as measured by the Piers Harris Self-Concept Scales 2) and disability type was examined by use of multi-level logistic regression. Results Seventeen percent (17.36%) of the sample was reported to have a diagnosis of one or more developmental disabilities. Those with a disability were more likely to live in poorer households, have poorer health status, to experience more episodes of bullying at school, and to have more negative views of school (p<0.05) than their typically-developing peers. Forty nine percent of children with developmental disabilities were not receiving support in school as reported by parents. Discrepancies in the nature of support received were identified across disability types. Adjusting for individual and school level factors, a disability diagnosis was associated with increased odds of low self-concept scores on three of five


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