Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 393–408 | Cite as

An observational study of emotionally disturbed and learning-disabled children in school settings

  • Joyce Sprafkin
  • Kenneth Gadow


It has been alleged that populations of learning-disabled (LD) and emotionally disturbed (ED) children are essentially indistinguishable on important intervention-related symptoms. To examine this claim, a direct observation study of social interactions during class, lunch, and recess settings in two public schools was conducted. Teacher ratings of school behavior were also collected. The results indicated that the ED boys exhibited significantly more nonphysical aggression and noncompliance than the LD boys across settings, and that the LD boys had significantly higher rates of physical and non-physical aggression and immature behavior than the LD girls. The correlations between the observations and teachers' ratings were modest but consistent with previous studies. The results are discussed with regard to their assessment and treatment implications.


Observational Study Social Interaction Direct Observation Public School School Setting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joyce Sprafkin
    • 1
  • Kenneth Gadow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral ScienceSUNY at Stony BrookStony Brook

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