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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02369

Tell me a story: an insight on socio-emotional functioning in adolescents with specific learning disabilities, and its relations with well-being and smartphone use

  • 1Carlo Besta Neurological Institute (IRCCS), Italy
  • 2University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
  • 3DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY, University of Milano Bicocca, Italy
  • 4DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Italy
  • 5Eugenio Medea (IRCCS), Italy

Although Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) are described as specific difficulties in one or more academic areas, often socio-emotional problems are also reported having cascading effects on well-being and school engagement. Moreover, emotional problems and reduced social support were found to predict problematic use of new technologies, like a smartphone, which can, in turn, increase these problems. Here, we aimed to investigate socio-emotional functioning in adolescents with and without a diagnosis of SLD and its relations with well-being, school engagement, and problematic smartphone use. Social and emotional skills were assessed through a narrative test; adolescents were requested to narrate complete stories elicited by pictures representing social situations. Information on well-being and problematic smartphone use were collected by questionnaires. The comparison between groups showed differences in cognitive-social skills, while, no significant differences in emotional functioning were found. Additionally, the perception of the social environment as supportive and trustworthy was related to general well-being for both groups, whereas, the perception of limits and rules setting by the adult world appeared to be related to a decreased investment in learning processes only for the SLD students. Finally, correlation analysis showed that smartphone use was associated with reduced perception of social support and also to a decreased ability to understand and solve social situations. These results assert the critical role played by social information processing and social support in terms of well-being in adolescence, and they contribute to enhancing knowledge of the mechanisms underlying problematic smartphone use also in a clinical sample.

Keywords: Socio-emotional functioning, Well-being, Smartphone addiction, SLD, adolescence, narratives

Received: 30 Jun 2019; Accepted: 04 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Sarti, BETTONI, Offredi, TIRONI, Lombardi, Traficante and Lorusso. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Daniela Sarti, Carlo Besta Neurological Institute (IRCCS), Milan, Italy, danielamaria.sarti@gmail.com