The authors of this study used a cognitive-emotive interview with 19 subjects with learning disabilities and 19 matched subjects without a learning disability.
The authors set out to compare how people with and without learning disabilities talked about events, beliefs and emotions in dialogues which covered real-life, specific emotive events and as part of a structured task designed to assess understanding of cognitive mediation.
In addition to taking part in the interviews, all the participants also completed a cognitive mediation task and an assessment of their intellectual and verbal ability.
They found from analysis of between-group differences that those participants with learning disabilities scored significantly lower than those without disabilities on the cognitive-emotive interview and the cognitive mediation task. They also found that those with learning disabilities generated fewer beliefs and were also less likely to provide alternative perspectives on events.
The authors conclude that the participants with learning disabilities did have more difficulties in talking about events, beliefs and emotions. They suggest that this means that in therapeutic contexts they are therefore likely to require help to “reflect on events and consider alternative interpretations, which take into account individual and environmental factors.”
Talking about real-life events: an investigation into the ability of people with intellectual disabilities to make links between their beliefs and emotions within dialogue, Hebblethwaite, A., et al in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 24: 543–553