An Investigation of the Characteristics of K-12 Students with Comorbid Emotional Disturbance and Significant Language Deficits Served in Public School Settings

J. Ron Nelson, Gregory J. Benner, Diana L. Rogers-Adkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

12 Scopus citations


A plethora of research has indicated that emotional disturbance (ED) and language deficits frequently co-occur. Scant research, however, has examined the characteristics of public school students with comorbid ED and language deficits. Furthermore, researchers have not studied children with IQ and language skill discrepancies. The overall purpose of this cross-sectional study conducted with students in grades K through 12 (N = 69) with ED and comorbid language 'deficits was to detail the academic and social adjustment characteristics of students with an IQ/language skill discrepancy (i.e., a negative standard deviation difference or greater between IQ and total language score). In addition, the types of dimensional behaviors that predict the language skills of these students was explored. Forty-five percent (n = 69) of the original 152 randomly selected students with ED evinced a language deficit. Students with language deficits were likely to exhibit comorbid written language (46%), reading (41%), and math deficits (31%). Delinquent behavior predicted total and receptive language discrepancy scores of students. Results and limitations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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