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Self-esteem, shyness, and sociability in adolescents with specific language impairment (SLI)

Wadman, R. and Durkin, K. and Conti-Ramsden, G. (2008) Self-esteem, shyness, and sociability in adolescents with specific language impairment (SLI). Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 51 (4). pp. 938-952. ISSN 1092-4388

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Purpose: To determine if lower global self-esteem, shyness, and low sociability are outcomes associated with SLI in adolescence. Possible concurrent predictive relationships and gender differences were also examined. Method: Fifty-four adolescents with SLI, aged between 16 and 17 years, were compared with a group of 54 adolescents with typical language abilities on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale (Rosenberg, 1965) and the Cheek and Buss Shyness and Sociability scales (Cheek & Buss, 1981). Results: The SLI group had significantly lower global self-esteem scores than the group with typical language abilities. The adolescents with SLI were more shy than their peers, but the groups did not differ in their sociability ratings. Regression analysis found that language ability was not concurrently predictive of self-esteem but shyness was. Mediation analysis suggested that shyness could be a partial but significant mediator in the relationship between language ability and global self-esteem. Conclusions: Older adolescents with SLI are at risk of lower global self-esteem and experience shyness, although they want to interact socially. The relationship between language ability and self-esteem at this point in adolescence is complex, with shyness potentially playing an important mediating role.