Date of Graduation

Summer 8-13-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Dhara Meghani, PhD

Second Advisor

Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD

Third Advisor

Aline Hitti, PhD


Youth diagnosed with specific learning disorder (SLD) and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), defined collectively for the purposes of this study as youth with learning differences, experience poorer social-emotional health outcomes in comparison to their typically developing peers. These youth additionally experience stigma from their peers, teachers, and broader community, which may impact social-emotional health. As a secondary data analysis of a larger study, the present study investigated the role of stigma consciousness alongside demographic variables, self-esteem, and peer relationships in social-emotional health outcomes. Due to the possible differences between youth diagnosed with SLD, ADHD, and comorbid SLD/ADHD, group differences among these variables were also explored. Ninety-six youth with learning differences participated in the study. Factor analysis was utilized to explore the structure of the Stigma Consciousness Questionnaire – Learning Disabilities (SCQ-LD; Daley & Rappolt-Schlichtmann, 2018) and yielded a two-factor model (negative stigma and lack of stigma impact) that was used in analyses. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine differences between diagnostic groups, and hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the impact of various predictors on anxiety, depression, and sense of relatedness. Results indicated that self-esteem was a significant predictor across all outcomes. Additionally, peer relationships were a significant predictor of depression, and the SCQ-LD negative stigma factor was a significant predictor of anxiety. Individual interventions that focus on bolstering self-esteem may be especially important in supporting social-emotional health of youth with learning differences, whereas population level interventions would lessen stigma in the community. Further research is recommended in order to validate the factor structure of the SCQ-LD, examine differences between diagnostic groups, and explore other factors influencing social-emotional health in youth with learning differences.