Social confidence in young people with DLD

Durkin, K., Toseeb, U., Botting, N., Pickles, A., & Conti-Ramsden, G. (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(6), 1635-1647. https://doi.org/10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0256


Aim of the paper:


There is little reliable research to help understand the relationship between DLD, self-esteem, shyness, and social self-efficacy. Social self-efficacy means an individual’s belief that they can succeed in certain situations. However, the evidence currently suggests those with DLD may have trouble within these domains. This paper looked at whether adolescents with DLD have lower self-esteem and greater levels of shyness. They also looked at whether in adulthood they will have lower social self-efficacy. The research is important as individuals with DLD are more likely to have difficulties in other areas of development, such as behavioural and social relations. The study measured self-esteem, shyness, and nonverbal IQ in participants with DLD and those without at 17 and then again at 24. Social self-efficacy was also measured at 24.


What was found:


  • Individuals with DLD had lower levels of self esteem, higher levels of shyness and lower social self-efficacy.

  • For both groups shyness and self-esteem at 17 was predictive at 24. For example, those with lower self-esteem at 17 had lower self-esteem at 24. In addition, those who had lower levels of self-esteem and greater shyness at 17 had lower levels of social self-efficacy at 24.

  • For those without DLD there was no relationship between language scores and shyness, self-esteem, and social self-efficacy.

  • However, for those with DLD language scores did impact shyness, self-esteem, and social self-efficacy. Higher language scores at 17 were related to greater self-esteem, social self-efficacy, and lower shyness levels at 24. Showing the relationship between DLD and these areas.


What does this mean?


The findings indicate that children with DLD are more likely to enter adulthood less socially confident than those of a similar age without DLD. The results showed that those with DLD had lower self-esteem, lower social self-efficacy, and greater levels of shyness. In addition, there was variance within the DLD condition, as those who scored higher on the language assessments had higher self-esteem and social self-efficacy and lower levels of shyness, showing the relationship between language ability and these domains. However, it is also worth noting that the lower self-esteem in the DLD group was not at a clinical level and could be increased through professional and family support. In addition, these findings can have positive implications, for example helping young people formulate social strategies and modifying negative experiences. Overall, the research suggests those with DLD will be socially less confident but hopefully this finding can lead to positive efforts to help tackle social difficulties in adolescents and adults with DLD.


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.