Social functioning as a mediator between Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and emotional problems in adolescents

Claire Forrest, Jenny L Gibson, Michelle St Clair

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)
66 Downloads (Pure)


Adolescents with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) are at risk for increased feelings of anxiety and depression compared to their typically developing (TD) peers. However, the underlying pathways involved in this relationship are unclear. In this initial study of the ‘social mediation hypothesis’ we examine social functioning as a mediator of emotional problems in a cross-sectional sample of adolescents with DLD and age- and sex-matched controls. Preliminary data from twenty-six participants with DLD and 27 participants with typical language development (TLD, 11-17 years) were compared on self- and parent-reported measures of social functioning and emotional outcomes. There was little evidence of group differences in self-reported social functioning and emotional outcomes, but parent-report of SDQ Peer Problems and Emotional Problems in the DLD group was significantly higher than in the TLD group. Parent-reported peer problems mediated parent-reported emotional problems, accounting for 69% of the relationship between DLD status and emotional problems. Parents of adolescents with DLD, but not adolescents themselves, report significantly higher peer and emotional problems compared to TLD peers. The hypotheses generated from these novel data suggest further investigation into adolescents’ perceptions of socioemotional difficulties and friendships should be examined.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1221
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Social functioning as a mediator between Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and emotional problems in adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this