Temperament and social-emotional difficulties: The dark side of learning disabilities.


The authors compared the relations between general psychological difficulties and dimensions of temperament in children with and without learning disability (LD). The main aim was to analyze whether and to what extent children’s temperament dimensions contribute to their general psychological difficulties when LD diagnosis, age, and gender are taken into account. Participants were 52 elementary school children 7-11 years old (M age = 8.61 years, SD = 1.21 years). Twenty-six of them had been diagnosed with LD. Six teachers rated their pupils with and without LD in relation to their general psychological difficulties (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) and temperament dimensions (Italian Questionnaires of Temperament). In children with LD, the main dimensions of temperament with the power to predict general psychological difficulties (i.e., emotionality and social orientation) concern these students’ relationships with others (teachers and peers). The findings of the current study draw educators’ and practitioners’ attention to the fact that children’s temperamental characteristics may affect how they experience their LD, with significant implications for their later social adjustment.