Victimization, Bullying, and Emotional Competence: Longitudinal Associations in (Pre)Adolescents With and Without Developmental Language Disorder Purpose Victimization is a common problem for many children but is exacerbated for children with a developmental language disorder (DLD). However, the severity of communication problems does not explain their victimization rates. In children without DLD, difficulties with emotional competence are a risk factor for victimization and also increase the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 08, 2018
Victimization, Bullying, and Emotional Competence: Longitudinal Associations in (Pre)Adolescents With and Without Developmental Language Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Neeltje P. van den Bedem
    Developmental Psychology, Leiden University, the Netherlands
  • Julie E. Dockrell
    Department of Psychology and Human Development, Institute of Education, University College London, United Kingdom
  • Petra M. van Alphen
    Royal Dutch Kentalis, Sint-Michielsgestel, the Netherlands
  • Shareen V. Kalicharan
    Royal Dutch Kentalis, Sint-Michielsgestel, the Netherlands
  • Carolien Rieffe
    Developmental Psychology, Leiden University, the Netherlands
    Nederlandse Stichting voor het Dove en Slechthorende Kind, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Neeltje van den Bedem: n.p.van.den.bedem@fsw.leidenuniv.nl
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Geralyn Timler
    Editor: Geralyn Timler×
Article Information
Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 08, 2018
Victimization, Bullying, and Emotional Competence: Longitudinal Associations in (Pre)Adolescents With and Without Developmental Language Disorder
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2018, Vol. 61, 2028-2044. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0429
History: Received November 16, 2017 , Revised February 27, 2018 , Accepted April 6, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2018, Vol. 61, 2028-2044. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0429
History: Received November 16, 2017; Revised February 27, 2018; Accepted April 6, 2018

Purpose Victimization is a common problem for many children but is exacerbated for children with a developmental language disorder (DLD). However, the severity of communication problems does not explain their victimization rates. In children without DLD, difficulties with emotional competence are a risk factor for victimization and also increase the risk of bullying. In this longitudinal study, we examined the extent to which the level and development of emotional competence (understanding of one's own emotions and levels of anger, sadness, and fear) contributed to the prediction of victimization and bullying in children with and without DLD, over and above the type and severity of communication problems of children with DLD.

Method Clinically referred youngsters (8–16 years old) with (n = 112; 48% girls, 52% boys) and without (n = 233; 58% girls, 42% boys) DLD completed self-reports 3 times over an 18-month period. Parents of children with DLD reported on their children's communication problems.

Results Participants with DLD reported more victimization but comparable levels of bullying behavior compared with peers without DLD. Higher levels of sadness and fear were risk factors for more victimization in both groups. Better understanding of one's own emotions had a larger effect on less victimization in children with DLD, independent of their communication problems. In addition, increased levels of anger and lower levels of understanding of one's own emotions explained more bullying in both groups.

Conclusion Outcomes indicate that secondary difficulties in emotional competence in children with DLD make these children more vulnerable to victimization and warrant specific support and interventions.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the Nuts Ohra Fund (Grant 1303-049 to C. Rieffe), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO; Grant 452-07-004 to C. Rieffe), and the Royal Dutch Kentalis. The authors thank all children who participated in this study, their parents, and schools. We also thank Jennifer Schoerke for correcting our English.
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