Depression characteristics among mildly handicapped students

Patrick J. Schloss, Michael H. Epstein, Douglas Cullinan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The present study was conducted to determine the prevalence of depressive characteristics among learning disabled, mentally retarded, and behaviorally disordered students. The influence of sex and age on the prevalence within each handicapping condition was also considered. A "depression subscale" of the Behavior Problem Checklist was administered to 2078 learning disabled students, 705 behaviorally disordered students, and 1184 nonhandicapped students. The scores were examined via analysis of variance, as well as an extreme-scores analysis using the 95th percentile of nonhandicapped students as a criterion for extremely depressive functioning. The results indicated that (a) behaviorally disordered students, particularly older males, appear more depressed than learning disabled, mentally retarded, and nonhandicapped students; (b) mentally retarded students, particularly younger girls, appear more depressed than the nonhandicapped; (c) learning disabled students are not seen as significantly more depressed than nonhandicapped students. The extreme-scores analysis also revealed interesting interactions of student age and sex. The results are discussed with reference to the need for effective methods for differentially diagnosing handicapping conditions and depressive disorders. Emphasis is also placed on the need for effective strategies for treating depression in behaviorally disordered and mentally retarded students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-302
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Multihandicapped Person
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1988


  • behavioral disorders
  • depression
  • learning disabilites
  • multiple handicaps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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