Adolescence is a period of elevated stress for many young people, and it is possible that the challenges of adolescence are different for vulnerable groups. We aimed to document the mental health, emotional and behavioral difficulties and suicidal/self-harming behaviors among adolescents with borderline intellectual functioning (BIF) or a disability, compared to those with neither disability nor BIF. Data was drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, a nationally representative Australian study. Participants were 2950 adolescents with complete data for Waves 3-6 (years 2008-2014), aged 14-15 years in 2014. Mental health items and self-harming/suicidal thought/behaviors were self-reported. Emotional-behavioral difficulties items came from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and were parent-, and adolescent-reported. Results of logistic regression analyses indicate that the emotional-behavioral difficulties of adolescents with either a disability or BIF, was worse than for those with neither disability nor BIF. Additionally, adolescents with a disability reported more symptoms of anxiety and depression, and were more likely to report self-harming/suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Adolescents with BIF or a disability are at higher risk of emotional-behavioral difficulties than those with neither disability nor BIF. There is some evidence that adolescents with a disability are at higher risk of anxiety, self-harming/suicidal thoughts and behaviors than adolescents without a disability.
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