A1 Journal article (refereed)
Psychiatric Problems in Adolescence Mediate the Association Between Childhood Learning Disabilities and Later Well-Being (2021)

Eloranta, A.-K., Närhi, V. M., Muotka, J. S., Tolvanen, A. J., Korhonen, E., Ahonen, T. P. S., & Aro, T. I. (2021). Psychiatric Problems in Adolescence Mediate the Association Between Childhood Learning Disabilities and Later Well-Being. Learning Disability Quarterly, 44(4), 304-317. https://doi.org/10.1177/07319487211012019

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Eloranta, Anna-Kaija; Närhi, Vesa M.; Muotka, Joona S.; Tolvanen, Asko J.; Korhonen, Elisa; Ahonen, Timo P. S.; Aro, Tuija I.

Journal or series: Learning Disability Quarterly

ISSN: 0731-9487

eISSN: 2168-376X

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 06/06/2021

Volume: 44

Issue number: 4

Pages range: 304-317

Publisher: SAGE Publications

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/07319487211012019

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/76315


This follow-up study investigated the associations of childhood learning disabilities (LDs) with adult-age anxiety, depression, and unemployment. Psychosocial problems in childhood and psychiatric diagnoses and lack of education in adolescence were studied as potential mediators, and gender and mother’s education as potential moderators of these associations. Data on childhood clinical neuropsychological assessments and lifelong register data on individuals with childhood LD (n = 430; 301 [70%] males; 20–39 years of age) and matched controls (n = 2,149) were applied. Mediation analyses were performed using structural equation modeling. Childhood LDs exerted a significant, but relatively small effect on psychiatric diagnoses in adolescence, which predicted adult-age depression and anxiety. LDs were related to unemployment both directly and via psychiatric diagnoses in adolescence. Examination of differences in the effects on adult-age outcomes of subtypes of LDs revealed mathematical disability to be more strongly associated with psychosocial problems in childhood and psychiatric problems in adolescence and adulthood than reading disability. Our findings show that LD has small and mostly indirect effects on the risk for later well-being problems. The findings emphasize the importance of adolescence in predicting adult-age psychiatric and employment problems and call for more holistic support for individuals with LDs.

Keywords: learning difficulties; psychosocial factors; reading disorders; childhood; effects (results); puberty; adulthood; anxiety; depression (mental disorders); unemployment; mental disorders; developmental psychology; follow-up study

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:27