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Mental Vulnerability and Coping Strategies as a Factor for Academic Success for Pupils with Special Education Needs

Authors: T. Dubayova


Slovak, as well as foreign authors, believe that the influence of non-cognitive factors on a student's academic success or failure is unquestionable. The aim of this paper is to establish a link between the mental vulnerability and coping strategies used by 4th grade elementary school students in dealing with stressful situations and their academic performance, which was used as a simple quantitative indicator of academic success. The research sample consists of 320 students representing the standard population and 60 students with special education needs (SEN), who were assessed by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) by their teachers and the Children’s Coping Strategies Checklist (CCSC-R1) filled in by themselves. Students with SEN recorded an extraordinarily high frequency of mental vulnerability (34.5 %) than students representing the standard population (7 %). The poorest academic performance of students with SEN was associated with the avoidance behavior displayed during stressful situations. Students of the standard population did not demonstrate this association. Students with SEN are more likely to display mental health problems than students of the standard population. This may be caused by the accumulation of and frequent exposure to situations that they perceive as stressful.

Keywords: Coping, Academic Performance, academic success, mental vulnerability, students with special education needs

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