Comorbidities between specific learning disorders and psychopathology in elementary school children in Germany

  • Children with reading and/or spelling disorders have increased rates of behavioral and emotional problems and combinations of these. Some studies also find increased rates of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, anxiety disorder, and depression. However, the comorbidities of, e.g., arithmetic disorders with ADHD, anxiety disorder, and depression have been addressed only rarely. The current study explored the probability of children with specific learning disorders (SLD) in reading, spelling, and/or arithmetic to also have anxiety disorder, depression, ADHD, and/or conduct disorder. The sample consisted of 3,014 German children from grades 3 and 4 (mean age 9;9 years) who completed tests assessing reading, spelling as well as arithmetic achievement and intelligence via a web-based application. Psychopathology was assessed using questionnaires filled in by the parents. In children with a SLD we found high rates of anxiety disorder (21%), depression (28%), ADHD (28%), and conduct disorder (22%). Children with SLD in multiple learning domains had a higher risk for psychopathology and had a broader spectrum of psychopathology than children with an isolated SLD. The results highlight the importance of screening for and diagnosing psychiatric comorbidities in children with SLD.

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Author:Linda Visser, Julia Kalmar, Janosch LinkersdörferORCiDGND, Ruth Görgen, Josefine Rothe, Marcus HasselhornGND, Gerd Schulte-Körne
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in psychiatry
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/04/28
Date of first Publication:2020/04/28
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/05/14
Tag:anxiety disorder; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; conduct disorder; depression; specific learning disorder
Copyright © 2020 Visser, Kalmar, Linkersdörfer, Görgen, Rothe, Hasselhorn and Schulte-Körne. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF)
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 37 Bildung und Erziehung / 370 Bildung und Erziehung
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0