ADOLESCENT LEARNING STYLES, SELF CONCEPT AND SOCIAL INTERACTION
PIERANGELO, ROGER A.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the problems involved in defining adolescent learning disabilities, and to explore the differences in social interaction and self concept between adolescents classified as LD, those exhibiting academic underachievement for other reasons and those with average achievement. The major issue investigated was whether or not patterns of interaction and self concept are different for LD adolescents, or whether adolescence as a developmental stage results in similar social and emotional patterns across groups. In addition, the primary goal of the study was to gain further knowledge on psychosocial characteristics of adolescents with LD.;Ninety junior high school students (grades 7, 8 & 9) from a suburban Long Island school district served as subjects. On the basis of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised, Stanford Achievement Test, Specific Language Disability Test, Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test and selected subtests of the Detroit Tests of Learning Aptitude, they were divided into three groups: Learning Disabled, Academic Underachievers and Average Achievers.;It was hypothesized that adolescents classified as LD would possess a significantly more negative self concept than those with academic underachievement for other reasons who in turn would possess a significantly more negative self concept than those with average achievement. It was further predicted that the same hierarchy of significance would occur in relation to social interaction.;All subjects were then administered the Piers-Harris Self Concept Scale and three academic teachers for each subject filled out the BOCES Affective Rating Scale, a measure of adaptive social interaction.;Results indicated that significant differences did occur between the self concept and adaptive social interaction ratings of LD and average achievers. Furthermore, the same results were obtained between academic underachievers and average achievers. However, contrary to expectations derived from the literature, the predicted hierarchy of significance did not occur. Further analysis did indicate a relationship between feelings of self esteem and willingness in adapting to social situations irregardless of label. The results were interpreted in terms of the problems involved in defining and measuring process deficiencies and the difficulty in developing valid criteria for the identification of the LD adolescent. Suggestions for future research were given.
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