FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE IN LEARNING DISABLED CHILDREN
NEWFIELD, ANN SURTES
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This study investigated the effect of frustration on performance in learning disabled and "normal" first and second grade, suburban, middle class, white children. All were of at least average intelligence and emotionally stable.;Forty subjects, twenty learning disabled, identified as "perceptually impaired" and attending their school's resource room and twenty "normal" achievers constituted the sample population. All were seen twice within a two week period. In one session a frustration task consisting of a difficult puzzle was administered. The other time, a non-frustration task, a building game, was presented. Performance on story comprehension and digit span instruments was measured before and after administration of each task. Observations of on and off task behaviors were systematically recorded during all phases of the experiment.;Results indicated that the effect of frustration was no different between the two groups. A carry over effect of the experience of frustration was indicated by increased performance on the story comprehension measure during the second session when the first session had included the frustration task. This was interpreted as suggesting that the experience of frustration aids subsequent learning.;A significant difference was found between the learning disabled and "normal" groups on the frustration task in that learning disabled youngsters gave more incorrect responses. Behavior differences were not found. This is contrary to the popular belief that learning disabled children exhibit more maladaptive behaviors than others.;The lack of significant differences between the learning disabled and "normal" children with regard to the effect of frustration on performance was attributed to the questionable classification of the learning disabled group. The indication is that current diagnostic practices include too heterogeneous a group of youngsters for the purpose of meaningful classification. As a result, sound empirical investigation in this field is not possible. Future research must differentiate between truly handicapped children and those who are educationally behind due to a developmental delay.