Social-Cognitive Processing and Biases in Children with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

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Livingstone, Megan
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The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between hostile attribution bias and social-emotional functioning in children with nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD). A subset of the data collected by Tanya Galway, a University of Toronto doctoral student, was examined. Sixteen children with NLD and sixteen normally achieving controls between the ages of 9 and 16 were given the Social Problem Solving Measure (Galway, 2007) to examine hostile attribution bias, and parents and teachers of the children completed the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001) to examine social-emotional functioning. Children with NLD were rated higher than normally achieving peers, by both parent and teacher informants, on the anxious/depressed, withdrawn/depressed, internalizing, aggressive and externalizing scales. Parents of children with NLD rated their children higher than teachers on these scales. Children with NLD differed from normally achieving peers on a measure of hostile attribution bias more frequently endorsing that a story character was being mean. Group differences in hostile attribution bias were accounted for by individual differences in depression and aggression, but not by individual differences in anxiety.
Social learning , Patients , Nonverbal , Psychological aspects , Social perception , Attitudes , Toronto , Ontario , Children , Learning disabilities