ABSTRACT

Purpose: Language development is closely related to physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. The aim of this study was to determine whether late talkers are at increased risk for behavioral and emotional problems during childhood. Methods: The subjects were 1,493 children who participated in both the 4th and the 8th Panel Study of Korean Children. Participants were divided into two groups (late talkers vs typically developing children) according to scores on an expressive vocabulary test conducted when they were 3 years old (on average). Late talkers were defined as toddlers who scored at or below the 10th percentile on the expressive vocabulary test. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was used to measure problem of child behavior. It Checklist was conducted when they were 7 years old (on average). The CBCL scores of the two groups were compared. Potential confounders included characteristics of parenting environment (family income, maternal education etc.). Results: The results of this study were as follows: 1) Maternal education was different in LT (n=279) and TD (n=1,214) groups. Maternal education level of LT was lower than TD. 2) Late talkers had higher Child Behavior Checklist scores (representing poorer behavior) than typically developing children in total problem behaviors, internalizing behaviors, and externalizing behaviors. 3) In detail, LT showed higher scores in social immaturity, attention problems, rule violation, and aggressive behavior than TD. Conclusions: These results suggest that the difficulty of early language development can have a negative effect on socio-emotional development in early school-aged children. They also suggest that early intervention for late talkers is important.

KEYWORD

Late talkers, language development, socio-emotional development

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