Learning Disabilities and Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis

University of Georgia, Regents' Center for Learning Disorders, Athens, GA 30602, USA.
Journal of Learning Disabilities (Impact Factor: 1.9). 04/2010; 44(1):3-17. DOI: 10.1177/0022219409359939
Source: PubMed


This article presents the results of a meta-analysis of the empirical literature on anxious symptomatology among school-aged students with learning disabilities (LD) in comparison to their non-LD peers. Fifty-eight studies met inclusion criteria. Results indicate that students with LD had higher mean scores on measures of anxiety than did non-LD students. The overall effect size was statistically significant and medium in magnitude (d=.61) although substantial heterogeneity of results was found. Moderator effects were examined for informant type, gender, grade, publication status, and identification source. Informant type (i.e., self-, parent, or teacher report) explained a significant amount of variability in the sample of studies, and identification source (i.e., school identified or special school and clinic/hospital identified) approached statistical significance. Implications for assessment and intervention are discussed.

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    • "In particular, learning disabilities are often related to negative emotional manifestations, such as anxiety and stress; it is recognized that reciprocal relationships between anxiety and cognition are common and influential on multiple aspects of life (see Manassis 2013, for a recent review). A recent metaanalysis reports higher mean scores on measures of emotional arousal and anxiety in a clinical group of school-aged students with learning disabilities compared to typically developing peers (Nelson and Harwood, 2011), and a review that specifically included studies on internalizing correlates of dyslexia (Mugnaini, Lassi, La Malfa, & Albertini, 2009) showed that reading problems contribute in a relevant way to higher emotional arousal in students from first grade to university. However, not all the studies that investigated internalizing symptoms have found evidence of significant differences between children with dyslexia and typical readers (Lamm & Epstein, 1992; Miller, Hynd, & Miller, 2005), and variability in results might also be related to the source of information considered (children, parents, or teachers) (Carroll, Maughan, Goodman, & Meltzer, 2005; Dahle, Knivsberg, & Andreassen, 2011; Knivsberg & Andreassen 2008; Snowling, Muter, & Carroll, 2007; Willcutt & Pennington, 2000, Dahle & Knivsberg, 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate physiological activation during reading and control tasks in children with dyslexia and typical readers. Skin conductance response (SCR) recorded during four tasks involving reading aloud, reading silently, and describing illustrated stories aloud and silently, were compared for children with dyslexia (n = 16) and a control group of typical readers (n = 16). Children’s school wellness was measured through self- and parent-proxy reports. Significantly lower SCR was found for dyslexic children in the reading-aloud task, compared to the control group, whereas all participants showed similar physiological reactions to the other experimental conditions. SCR registered during reading tasks correlated with “Child’s emotional difficulties”, as reported by parents. Possible interpretations of the lower activation during reading aloud in dyslexic children are discussed.
    Annals of Dyslexia 08/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11881-015-0109-8 · 1.48 Impact Factor
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    • "Overall, there is no gold standard for measuring internalizing problems and a risk of under-or over reporting remains. Hence, it is indispensable to employ self-, parent-, and teacher-reports to take account of emotional and behavioral aspects of internalizing problems as well as situation specificity of behavior (Nelson & Harwood, 2011a). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research has shown that learning disabilities are associated with internalizing problems in (pre)adolescents. In order to examine this relationship for math disability (MD), math achievement and internalizing problem scores were measured in a representative group of 1,436 (pre)adolescents. MD was defined by a discrepancy between math achievement and IQ. Internalizing problems were measured through a multiinformant (parents, teachers, self-report) approach. The results revealed that MD puts (pre)adolescents at a higher risk for internalizing problems. External and self-ratings differed between boys and girls, indicating that either they show distinct internalizing symptoms or they are being perceived differently by parents and teachers. Results emphasize the importance of both a multi-informant approach and the consideration of gender differences when measuring internalizing symptomatology of children with MD. For an optimal treatment of MD, depressive and anxious symptoms need to be considered.
    Zeitschrift für Psychologie 07/2015; 223(2):93-101. DOI:10.1027/2151-2604/a000207 · 1.57 Impact Factor
    • "Children with IDs experience more frequent and longer hospital stays (Frid et al., 2002; Mahon and Kibirige, 2004; Williams et al., 2005) and have higher levels of anxiety disorders (Nelson and Harwood, 2011; White et al., 2009) which can likely be triggered by new or unfamiliar situations such as a hospital visit (Evans et al., 2005; Gillis et al., 2009; Slifer et al., 2008). As a result of all of these factors, we suggest that the need for a child with an ID to have a positive relationship with his/ her health care provider is of increased importance. "
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    ABSTRACT: Effective and therapeutic relationships between health care providers and clients are important elements for positive health outcomes. Children with intellectual disabilities (IDs) and their parents face unique challenges in establishing relationships with health care providers due to social and institutional stigma and stereotypes associated with children with IDs. In this article, we discuss the theme of building relationships in a hospital setting that emerged from a qualitative feminist poststructuralist study conducted in Canada with 8 children with IDs, 17 mothers, and 12 nurses who cared for them. Our research provides examples of how nurses and mothers worked in and through the system sometimes with frustration but also sometimes with positive excitement to develop supportive relationships. We can learn from these moments of tension and moments of success about how to work together to ensure positive relationships are provided to children with IDs, their parents, and health care professionals.
    Journal of Intellectual Disabilities 06/2014; 18(3). DOI:10.1177/1744629514538877
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