Social confidence in early adulthood among young people with and without a history of language impairment

Durkin, Kevin and Toseeb, Umar and Botting, Nicola and Pickles, Andrew and Conti-Ramsden, Gina (2017) Social confidence in early adulthood among young people with and without a history of language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 60. pp. 1635-1647. ISSN 1092-4388 (

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Purpose The purposes of this study were to test the predictions that lower self-esteem and higher shyness in individuals with a history of language impairment (LI) would continue from adolescence into early adulthood and that those with LI would have lower social self-efficacy in early adulthood. Method Participants were young people with a history of LI and a comparison group of age-matched peers. Both groups were tested at ages 17 and 24 years. Participants completed measures of language ability, nonverbal IQ, shyness, global self-esteem, and (at age 24 years only) social self-efficacy. Results Young adults with LI scored lower than age-matched peers on self-esteem, higher on shyness, and lower on social self-efficacy (medium to large effect sizes). In line with expectations, in the group with LI, language ability in adolescence predicted shyness in young adulthood, which, in turn, was negatively associated with self-esteem. There was also a direct association between language ability in adolescence and self-esteem in young adulthood. Conclusions Young people with a history of LI are likely to be entering adulthood less socially confident than their peers. Interventions may be desirable for young adults with LI, and the present findings indicate social self-efficacy as a key area of social confidence that calls for practitioners' attention.


Durkin, Kevin ORCID logoORCID:, Toseeb, Umar, Botting, Nicola, Pickles, Andrew and Conti-Ramsden, Gina;