Louisa Salmon knows only too well the different challenges faced by people with severe disability, and now she’s exploring how bullying may be impacting on their lives.
Louisa is completing a PhD in psychology through Southern Cross University’s School of Health and Human Sciences and is seeking participants from the Coffs Harbour region for a pilot study on bullying for young people with and without different severities of cerebral palsy.
Louisa has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, using a computer to communicate with colleagues and academic staff.
“I have a fascination with this topic because research on whether young people with disabilities get bullied focuses mainly on young people with mild to moderate disabilities,” Louisa said.
“It is often assumed that young people with severe disabilities do not get bullied. I want to test if this assumption is true.”
Louisa is also focusing on the siblings of a young person with cerebral palsy, to determine if they experience bullying.
“Specifically, I would like to find out whether or not young people with cerebral palsy get bullied more than their siblings with no disability, and what type of bullying these young people receive.
“I also want to investigate whether young people with more severe disabilities experience different degrees and types of bullying to those with milder disabilities.”
Louisa’s research will also look at the notion of resilience, to determine how young people with cerebral palsy, as well as their siblings, cope with the notion of being bullied and the notion of fighting with a friend.
To participate in the study, she is looking for families with a child aged 10-16 with cerebral palsy, with average or above average intelligence, and a same-sex sibling, also aged 10-16 years with average or above average intelligence. The study will involve online questionnaires in the presence of the researcher.
The project is titled ‘Bullying and the Emotional Resilience of Australian School Children with and without Cerebral Palsy (Siblings Study)’. The study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Southern Cross University (Ethics Approval Number ECN-14-168) and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Human Research Ethics Committee (Ethics Approval Number 2014-02-02).
If parents or guardians are interested in knowing more about the study they can contact Louisa firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact her PhD supervisor Dr Gail Moloney on 66593191.
(Source: Southern Cross University)