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A longitudinal study of behavioral, emotional and social difficulties in individuals with a history of specific language impairment (SLI)

St. Clair, M.C. and Pickles, A. and Durkin, Kevin and Conti-Ramsden, G. (2011) A longitudinal study of behavioral, emotional and social difficulties in individuals with a history of specific language impairment (SLI). Journal of Communication Disorders, 44 (2). pp. 186-199.

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Abstract

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) have often been reported to have associated behavioral, emotional and social difficulties. Most previous studies involve observations at a single time point, or cross sectional designs, and longitudinal evidence of the developmental trajectories of particular difficulties is limited. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire was used to measure behavioral (hyperactivity and conduct), emotional and social (peer) problems in a sample of individuals with a history of SLI at four time points from childhood (age 7) to adolescence (age 16). A decrease in behavioral and emotional problems was observed from childhood to adolescence, although emotional problems were still evident in adolescence. In contrast, there was an increase in social problems. Reading skills and expressive language were related only to behavioral problems. Pragmatic abilities were related to behavioral, emotional and social difficulties. As a group, those with a history of SLI have poorer long term social and, to a lesser extent, emotional outcomes. In contrast, behavioral difficulties appear to decrease to normative levels by adolescence. Different aspects of early language abilities and reading skills exert different types and degrees of influence on behavioral, emotional and social difficulties. Learning outcomes: Readers will be able to: (1) understand the types of behavioral, emotional and social difficulties present in individuals with a history of SLI; (2) be familiar with the developmental trajectory of these difficulties from childhood to adolescence; and (3) understand the relationships between behavioral, emotional and social difficulties and early language and literacy ability.