Understanding Loneliness among Students with Learning Disabilities

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the feelings of loneliness among students with learning disabilities (LD) and to identify subgroups according to their loneliness characteristics. The sample consisted of 76 students from seven self-contained classes for LD students within regular schools in all parts of Israel. The instruments included self-reported loneliness and social skills scales, teacher ratings of behaviour disorders, and peer ratings of social acceptance. The following factors predicted the students' feelings of loneliness: peer acceptance, social skills, and computer activities, explaining 32% of the variance. Using cluster analysis for the loneliness and behaviour disorder factors, four subgroups of students were identified. They differed along their levels of loneliness, presence of disruptive behaviour (internal validation) and social skills (external validation). The results emphasised the need to consider loneliness levels and manifestations of disruptive behaviour in attempts to conceptualise these students' difficulties and to plan individualised intervention programs. Further research, focusing on the impact of the intervention on the subjective experience of loneliness, may advance our understanding of the students' needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
JournalBehaviour Change
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1991

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