International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 15 Num. 3 - October 2015


Engagement with School in Students with Special Educational Needs

Volume 15 Num. 3 - October 2015 - Pages 361-375


Paulo A.S. Moreira , Helena Bilimória , Carla Pedrosa , Maria de Fátima Pires , Maria de Jesus Cepa , Maria de Deus Mestre , Marisa Ferreira , Natália Serra


Student’ engagement with school is a strong predictor of both positive and negative academic trajectories indicators. Students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) are at increased risk for experiencing cumulative academic-related difficulties which tends to have a negative significant impact on students’ engagement with school. Although some studies have described parceled dimensions of school in students with SEN, studies examining both the individual and contextual dimensions involved in students’ engagement with school are scarce. The objective of this study was to describe multidimensional engagement with school in students with and without SEN, and in students with different SEN. 388 students participated in this study (mean age 13.46; SD= 2.72): 150 with SEN. Students with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity did not differ from students without SEN; students with visual and neuromotor impairment registered higher scores on some cognitive and contextual indicators of engagement; and students with intellectual disability registered lower levels of cognitive and contextual indicators of engagement. These results have strong implications for educational policies and practices, specifically for the promotion of adaptive academic trajectories in students with SEN.

Key words:

engagement with school, special educational needs, cognitive engagement, psychological engagement

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