Importance of social support in the adjustment of children with learning problems

Melodie Wenz-Gross, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Gary N. Siperstein, University of Massachusetts Boston

At the time of publication, Melodie Wenz-Gross was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


This study examined the social networks, social supports, friendships, and adjustment of 106 4th-, 5th- and 6th-grade children. Forty children were receiving special education services for learning problems 66 were in general education. Results showed that children with and without learning problems did not differ on the size or composition of their social networks nor on the negative features of their friendships (conflict, competition). However, children with learning problems used their network differently for support. They turned to the family less for problem-solving support and to peers less for all types of support than children without learning problems. Results are discussed in terms of the implications for children with learning problems as they enter adolescence.