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A meta-analysis of parent and teacher reports of depression among students with learning disabilities: Evidence for the importance of multi-informant assessment



We conducted a meta-analysis to examine depressive symptomatology among students with learning disabilities (LD), as reported by their parents and teachers. A 2006 meta-analysis by Maag & Reid of the self-reports of students with LD indicated that this group's higher report of depressive symptoms compared to non-LD students was small in magnitude (d = .35). In our meta-analysis, 31 studies in which depressive symptomatology among school-age (K–12) students with LD was examined were included. The overall effect size was statistically significant and medium in magnitude (d = .75) and indicated that parents and teachers reported students with LD to experience significantly more depressive symptoms than non-LD students experience. When integrated with Maag and Reid's findings, these results suggest that parents and teachers appear to report greater depressive symptomatology for students with LD than these students report for themselves. Due to the observed discrepancy, multi-informant assessment practices and the need for clinical judgment are discussed. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.