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The research presented in this article suggests that young people attending schools for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties are more likely to experience concurrent psychiatric disorders (comorbidity) than their peers in mainstream schools. Dr Cassidy (Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), Dr James (Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) and Dr Wiggs (Research Psychologist) used questionnaires and interviews with parents and teachers, together with pupil self-reporting, to gather their data. The two-stage investigation suggested that 89% of the adolescents in one school for pupils with EBD met established criteria for the diagnosis of a psychiatric disorder. Conduct disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) emerged as the most common psychiatric difficulties, but emotional disorders were also prominent in the data. These untreated problems are likely to have significant long-term implications for the psychological and educational development of the pupils concerned, and the authors speculate on some of the ways in which psychiatric and education services might work together in order to improve the outlook. © The National Association for Special Educational Needs 2001.

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Special Education

Publication Date





167 - 173