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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1992 Dec;60(6):893-903.

Academic underachievement, attention deficits, and aggression: comorbidity and implications for intervention.

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  • Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


Although comorbidity with specific learning disabilities is less frequent than commonly reported, externalizing behavior disorders--particularly attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)--often overlap with various indices of academic underachievement during childhood. Furthermore, by adolescence, delinquency is clearly associated with school failure. Because the link between behavioral and learning problems often appears before formal schooling, and because the co-morbid problems predict a negative course, early intervention is a necessity. Controlled treatment investigations with youngsters who show these combined problems are rare, and such studies present a host of methodologic and practical problems. I discuss issues surrounding multimodality treatment programs and the potential for long-term interventions to break cycles of school failure and externalizing behavior.

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