Peer victimization in adolescents with down syndrome: the impact of communication and emotion regulation

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Alabama Libraries

Research shows that typically developing (TD) individuals who have lower expressive communication and emotion regulation skills are much more likely to be victimized by peers. However, little research has been done to investigate predictors of victimization in adolescents with DS. Research demonstrates that individuals with Down Syndrome (DS) tend to have significant difficulties with communication, especially expressive communication. In addition, individuals with DS have higher incidents of behavior and emotion regulation problems than their TD peers. The current study investigated if problems with communication predict peer victimization in adolescents with DS and if emotion regulation accounts for this association. A total of 23 participants between the ages of 11 and 18 with DS and their parent/guardian completed tasks and measures to investigate the main variables of interest; communication ability, victimization experience, and emotion regulation, as well as exploratory variables (aggression, self-esteem, social motivation, and friendship quality). Results demonstrated the expected relation between communication and victimization in that each communication measure was significantly negatively related to victimization. Additionally, pragmatic judgement (a communication skill) and emotion regulation were significantly related to each other, in that higher pragmatic judgement was associated with better emotion regulation. However, contrary to what was expected, emotion regulation did not significantly relate to victimization. The relation between communication and victimization could be used as a potential intervention point to decrease victimization in adolescents with DS. Key Terms: Down Syndrome, communication, peer victimization, emotional regulation

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Developmental psychology