Diagnostic Discrimination Between Social Maladjustment and Emotional Disturbance: An Empirical Study
AbstractThe utility of two teacher rating scales, the Differential Test of Conduct and Emotional Problems and the Emotional and Behavior Problem Scale, to discriminate between emotional disturbance (ED) and social maladjustment (SM) was investigated in the study reported here. Participants were 135 students in the age range 12 to 15 years. The ED group was composed of 85 students, all of whom were classified as emotionally disturbed and received full-time special education services. The SM group was made up of 50 students who were in regular education middle school settings. All students in the SM group had experienced either internal or external suspension during the school year in which the data were collected. The overall pattern of scores on these scales suggests that students who are socially maladjusted and students who are labeled emotionally disturbed do not display separate, distinguishable behavioral syndromes. Implications for educators and for public policy makers are discussed.