Social and Emotional Costs of Learning Disabilities

By Mahoney, Diana | Clinical Psychiatry News, February 2008 | Go to article overview

Social and Emotional Costs of Learning Disabilities


Mahoney, Diana, Clinical Psychiatry News


The notion that learning disabilities are an academic problem exclusively is not only erroneous, it's dangerous. The struggles of children with impairments in reading, writing, math, memory, and organization extend far beyond the classroom and often contribute to a heavy psychological burden.

Multiple studies demonstrate that adolescents with learning disabilities frequently exhibit co-occurring emotional and behavioral problems, including depression, anxiety, conduct disorders, and delinquency In the landmark 2001 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a cross-sectional analysis of the in-home interview data of more than 20,000 adolescents included in the study showed that rates of emotional distress, suicide attempts, and involvement in violence were significantly increased in the 1,301 adolescents who were identified as having a learning disability, compared with their non-learning impaired peers (J. Adolesc. Health 2001;27:340-8). Similar results have been reported in a variety of community and clinical samples.

As many as 20% of people in the United States have a learning disability (including about 3 million children aged 6-21 years who receive special education services in school), and about 30% of learning-disabled children have behavioral and emotional problems, according to data presented in the Department of Education's 2005 report to Congress on the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/osep/2005/index.html). The lesson? The societal impact of this problem is huge.

In the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health, learning disabilities were the most commonly diagnosed emotional, developmental, or behavioral problem of children aged 0-17 years. Compared with their peers without developmental problems, these children had lower self-esteem, had more depression and anxiety, and missed more school and were less involved in sports and other community activities (Pediatrics 2006;117:e1202-12).

In addition, children with learning disabilities drop out of high school at a disproportionately higher rate than their peers, and high school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to have trouble with the law than are those who graduate, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Literature on the causal direction of the co-occurrence of behavioral/emotional and learning problems is inconsistent. For example, it is unclear whether learning impairments beget mental health troubles or vice versa, whether the causation is reciprocal, or whether a shared etiologic factor underlies the overlap. It is clear, however, that "a cascade of negative psychosocial effects" occur with learning disabilities," said David Osher, Ph.D., project director for the American Institutes for Research in Washington.

Adult expectations of adolescents make them particularly vulnerable to negative sequelae, contends John McNamara, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of child and youth studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont. A younger child with a learning disability who exhibits a behavioral need probably would be identified in elementary school, but a teenager at risk for emotional or behavioral problems "is operating within a setting where expectations shift to the adolescents advocating for themselves--so a kid in trouble can fall off the radar," he said.

In a large-scale study published in 2005, Dr. McNamara and his colleagues explored the relationship in adolescents between learning disabilities and risk-taking behavior. They determined that adolescents with learning disabilities (and adolescents with learning disabilities and comorbid attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) were significantly more likely to smoke, use alcohol and marijuana, engage in acts of direct aggression, and engage in acts of minor delinquency (Learn. Disabil. Res. and Pract. 2005; 20:234-44).

In a recent follow-up to that study, which is slated for publication this summer, Dr. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Social and Emotional Costs of Learning Disabilities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.