Is Special Education Service Receipt a Risk Factor for Socioemotional Maladjustment in Middle School?

Adrienne Woods , Pennsylvania State University
Paul Morgan, Pennsylvania State University
George Farkas, University of California, Irvine
Marianne M. Hillemeier, Pennsylvania State University

Whether and to what extent socioemotional maladjustment may be the result of special education service receipt has been unknown. We statistically matched 2,370 children with disabilities participating in the ECLS-K:1998 in order to investigate 8th grade children’s self-reported feelings of academic competency, peer relationships, internalizing feelings, school belongingness, self-concept, educational expectations, and locus of self-control. In a novel design, we included only students who received services during at least one K-8 grade, and assessed their risk for socioemotional maladjustment based on their propensity to have last received services at Kindergarten, 1st grade, 3rd grade, 5th grade, or 8th grade. Results indicated that receiving special education between Kindergarten and 5th grade was associated with a higher locus of self-control but was not significantly related to any other socioemotional outcomes or academic competencies in middle school, contradicting the idea that receiving special education services contributes to socioemotional maladjustment among students with disabilities.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity