Comorbidity among students with emotional disturbance

Douglas Cullinan, Michael H. Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Although there has been considerable interest in and research on comorbidity of diagnosed mental disorders among children and adolescents, little is known about comorbidity of the characteristics of emotional disturbance (ED) as defined by the federal definition of that category of educational disability. In this study, we examined comorbidity of the five federal definition characteristics among students already identified as having ED. Each of these characteristics of ED was measured with the Scale for Assessing Emotional Disturbance, a standardized, norm-referenced instrument completed by educators. The effects of setting different criteria for deviance on these characteristics were explored through the use of two different cutoff criteria. Results were obtained for comorbidity overall and for comorbidity by sex, race and ethnic group, grade level in school, and educational placement of the students. The extent of comorbidity of ED characteristics was shown to be related to the criterion for deviance and to each of the student variables. Implications for practice and research are suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-213
Number of pages14
JournalBehavioral Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Cullinan, D., & Epstein, M. H. (2001). Comorbidity among students with emotional disturbance. Behavioral Disorders, 26(3), 200-213.