Relationships between language impairment, temperament, behavioural adjustment and maternal factors in a community sample of preschool children Academic Article uri icon


  • Relationships between child language development and temperament have been little studied in young children, although it is known that children with language impairment are at risk in a number of domains of psychosocial development involving temperamental influences.To investigate the relationships between temperament and language development, along with child behavioural adjustment and maternal psychosocial factors.A sample of 4-year-old children with language impairment was compared with typically developing children, from a large community cohort in a longitudinal study, on three temperament dimensions, behavioural and emotional problems, and maternal factors. Participants were part of a large community cohort involved in a longitudinal study.While the groups did not differ significantly on temperamental shyness/sociability, children with language impairment showed more negative dispositions on the persistence/self-regulation factor, and on overall temperamental difficultness. Behavioural problems were elevated in the language impairment group and were associated with temperament in both groups. Maternal measures of education level, reading and vocabulary skills were significantly lower in the language impairment group.Generally the language impairment group showed a constellation of developmental disadvantages which add to the existing developmental vulnerability conferred by the presence of language impairment. Poorer child temperament self-regulation and behavioural adjustment are strong risk factors for school learning, while lower mother education and literacy contribute further disadvantage. Clinicians managing language impairment in children need to be aware of the whole package of risk factors which are common in this population.


  • Prior, Margot
  • Bavin, Edith
  • Cini, Eileen
  • Eadie, Patricia
  • Reilly, Sheena

publication date

  • July 2011