Language and social competence in typically developing children and late talkers between 18 and 35 months of age

Emiddia Longobardi, Pietro Spataro, Alessandra Frigerio, Leslie Rescorla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present study examined the relation between language and social ability in a sample of 268 preschoolers aged 18–35 months. Expressive language was assessed with the Italian adaptation of the Language Development Survey (LDS), and Social Competence was assessed with the Questionnaire on Peer Interactions in the Kindergarten (QPI). Results showed that language measures (LDS Vocabulary, LDS MLU and the opportunity scores of the LDS category of People Words) predicted social competence (Total QPI score and the standardised scores of the ‘Popularity’, ‘Prosociality’, ‘Aggressiveness’, ‘Adult Dependence', and ‘Isolation’ factors), above and beyond the proportion of variance explained by age. In addition, children with delayed language development (who were older than 24 months and produced fewer than 50 words) exhibited lower social abilities, compared to age-matched children. These findings support the conclusion that language skills play a critical role for social adjustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-452
Number of pages17
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Volume186
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 3 2016

Keywords

  • kindergarten children
  • language
  • late talkers
  • social competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology

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