Are males more likely to have DLD?

Chilosi, A. M., Brovedani, P., Cipriani, P., & Casalini, C. (2021). Sex differences in early language delay and in developmental language disorder. Journal of neuroscience research. https://doi.org/10.1002/jnr.24976


What was the aim?


DLD is thought to be found in 3-7% of pre-schoolers. DLD can impact children’s educational success and social ability. There are many risk factors for DLD, with research finding a higher level of DLD in males. This review investigates the male sex as a risk factor for DLD examining twin studies, family aggregation studies and epidemiological studies. This knowledge will help find risk factors that can aid in early diagnosis and treatments.

  • Family aggregation studies look at the traits, behaviours, and disorders in a family.

  • Epidemiological studies look at the distribution of a health problem in large scale populations.


What was found?


  • The epidemiological studies found male sex was a predictor of DLD as males are 3 times more likely to have DLD than females.

  • Family aggregation studies found a link between family history and DLD. One study found that males were more likely to be affected by family history than females. Another study found male siblings were 1.73 times more likely to have DLD than female siblings.

  • Twin studies found that twin boys were more likely to show signs of DLD. This rate is higher in monozygotic twins (46.5%) then dizygotic twins (31%). Additionally, for females, having a male co-twin increases your chances of having DLD.

  • Twin studies found that some language components, such as semantics, are genetically driven. Also, language issues in females are more easily resolved than in males.


What does it mean?


This review shows how males are 3 times more likely to have DLD than females. Meaning, they are more likely to struggle educationally and socially. Epidemiological studies and twin studies show how males are more likely to develop DLD. And family aggregation and twin studies highlight the genetic factors. Other factors, such as socioeconomic status can influence the onset on DLD. This review shows how males are at increased risk for the development of DLD. Knowing sex related risks can aid in early diagnosis, but it is also important not to ignore DLD in girls.


Where can I read this paper?


This paper is not open access. If you wish to read the full paper, please email E-DLD@bath.ac.uk and request a copy of the paper.