Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2012 Aug;10(2):105-109.

Learning Difficulties and Working Memory Deficits among Primary School Students in Jakarta, Indonesia

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine University of Indonesia, Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital, Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • 2Population Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


OBJECTIVE: There are multiple possible etiologies for learning difficulties in children. There is growing evidence that many students identified as having learning difficulties have significant working memory deficits. To determine, in a sample of primary school students in Jakarta, Indonesia, the prevalence of learning difficulties and learning difficulties co-morbid with working memory deficits.
Subjects (N=423) were recruited via proportional random sampling from 27 primary schools. The first stage was a cross-sectional study of these students, while the second stage was a case-control study comparing all students with learning difficulties and working memory deficits with controls matched by school type, grade level, and gender.
Among the students, whose mean age was 9.34 years (1.78), 13.7% had a learning difficulty, while 8.04% had a learning difficulty with working memory deficit. The odds ratio of comorbid working memory deficit (in the face of a learning difficulty) was 7.0 (chi2= 35.96, p<0.001).
Learning difficulties and comorbid working memory deficits were relatively common among primary school students. Efforts should be made to identify these students and provide timely assistance, in order to optimize their educational success and mental health outcomes.


Learning difficulties; Working memory; Primary school; Student
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