Year

2020

Season

Fall

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychological Science (MSPS)

Department

Psychology

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Angela Mann

Second Advisor

Dr. Catherine Simms

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Argott

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. George Rainbolt

Abstract

The literature on bullying among school-aged children is widespread, with more than half of children on the autism spectrum having reported experiencing some form of bullying in the last year. For this reason, the primary goal of this study was to introduce a two-week long intervention to teach six middle-school aged children with autism how to recognize and appropriately respond to bullying. The intervention used behavioral skills training that is complimentary to Bandura’s social learning theory. Six middle school-aged participants, one girl and five boys, were taught to recognize bullying situations using comic strip vignettes, and how to respond to bullies using Borba’s CALM procedure (take a deep breath, stand up straight, look your bully in the eye, and verbalize a statement such as “Leave me alone,” or “Stop that, I don’t like it.”). At post-test, one participant was able to describe how to respond to bullying, and all six participants responded correctly to a confederate “bully” during generalization probe, suggesting that a short intervention can successfully teach children on the spectrum to respond to bullying. Further implications and limitations of current findings are discussed, as are ideas about future research in the area of bullying.

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