Affiliation: School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel, P.O. Box 167. Herzliya, 46150, Israel.
Background: Most of the interventions developed for adolescents with learning disorders (LDs) focus on enhancing cognitive and learning skills. However, these adolescents have been usually found to score high on measures of insecure attachment orientations.
Objectives: The purpose of the current analysis was to examine changes in attachment orientations towards parents, attachment- related representations of teachers, and feelings of loneliness among adolescents with LD during an open trial of a psychological intervention for adolescents diagnosed with learning disorders (the “I Can Succeed” program, or ICS). ICS aims to target both academic and emotional functioning.
Methods: Participants included 40 adolescents with LD and their parents. Measures included Attachment to parents (Kerns); Attachment representations of teachers (Children’s Appraisal of Teacher as a Secure Base (CATSB); and Loneliness (Peer-Network Loneliness and Peer-Dyadic Loneliness Scale (PNDLS). Adolescents completed questionnaires before the ICS Intervention (baseline), at the end of the acute phase (end of treatment) and at a six months follow-up meeting (follow-up).
Results: The main results of the current study indicate that 6 months after the “I Can Succeed” intervention, there was improvement in LD students’ attachment security to mothers, appraisals of homeroom teacher as a security-enhancing figures (more acceptance and less rejection), and satisfaction with relationships with peers and friends (lower dyadic loneliness scores). One practical implication concerns the use of attachment theory as a foundation upon which to develop interventions among adolescents with LD.