Emotional Health and Self-Efficacy

Botting, N., Durkin, K., Toseeb, U., Pickles, A., & Conti‐Ramsden, G. (2016). Emotional health, support, and self‐efficacy in young adults with a history of language impairment. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 34(4), 538-554.

Aim of the paper:

In this paper we tried to look at factors that might protect young adults with DLD from mental health difficulties, namely self-efficacy and social support. Self-efficacy is the feeling that we can change things in our lives, and that we have coping strategies to deal with difficulties. The young adults that took part were 24 years old and were part of the Manchester Language Study. The study had a large sample (lots of participants) – 81 adults with DLD and 87 who didn’t have DLD.

What was found:

Although adults with DLD had higher risk of being anxious and depressed, this was affected by their feelings of self-efficacy. The more self-efficacy someone had, the less likely they were to have mental health issues.

For social support the picture was not so clear. Young adults with DLD and their peers with no language difficulties both felt they had adequate support from family and friends. However, when we looked more closely, the people with the most need were receiving the most support. This is not surprising really, but it makes it difficult to tell how much difference the support was making to each person.

What does this mean?

Our findings suggest that emotional health issues might be more frequent in young adults with DLD and that support for this might be needed in workplaces, social settings and family.

But it also suggests that encouraging self-efficacy (the feeling that you can change your future) from an early age might act as a protective factor, helping to limit the risk of later mental health problems. This was true for DLD and typical adults, so it may be something that schools could focus on for everyone.

We also found that families are doing an amazing job at supporting the young people with DLD – keep up the good work!

Where can I read this paper?

This paper is open access, which means everyone can read it.

Please click here to find the full paper.