Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Behavioral Education 17:1 (March 2008), pp. 63–78; doi: 10.1007/s10864-007-9057-7 Copyright © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Used by permission.


The results from previous research suggest that there is a relatively small (albeit statistically significant) relationship between the externalizing behavior and academic skills of students with emotional disturbance (ED). Researchers have also found that the majority of these students have language deficits that hinder their academic performance. The purposes of this study were to investigate the mediating role of academic processing speed (i.e., academic fluency) on the relationship between: (a) The externalizing behavior and academic skills of K-12 students with ED; and (b) language skills and academic skills of students with ED. Results indicate that academic processing speed mediated the influence of both language skills and externalizing behavior on academic skills of this population. The findings, limitations, and implications were discussed.