Social Confidence in Early Adulthood Among Young People With and Without a History of Language Impairment

Kevin Durkin, Umar Toseeb, Nicola Botting, Andrew Pickles, Gina Conti-Ramsden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1635-1647
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2017

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© 2017 The Authors


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