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The contribution of early language development to children's emotional and behavioural functioning at 6 years: An analysis of data from the Children in Focus sample from the ALSPAC birth cohort

Roulstone, Susan; Clegg, Judy; Law, James; Rush, Robert; Peters, Tim J.; Roulstone, Sue

Authors

Susan Roulstone

Judy Clegg

James Law

Robert Rush

Tim J. Peters



Abstract

Background: An association between children’s early language development and their emotional and behavioural functioning is reported in the literature. The nature of the association remains unclear and it has not been established if such an association is found in a population-based cohort in addition to clinical populations.
Methods: This study examines the reported association between language development and emotional and behavioural functioning in a population-based cohort. Data from 1,314 children in the Children in Focus (CiF) sample from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) were analysed. Regression models identified the extent to which early language ability at 2 years of age and later language ability at 4 years of age is associated with emotional and behavioural functioning at 6 years while accounting for biological and social risk and adjusting for age and performance intelligence (PIQ).
Results: A series of univariable and multivariable analyses
identified a strong influence of biological risk, social risk and early and later language ability to emotional and
behavioural functioning. Interestingly, social risk dropped out of the multivariate analyses when age and PIQ were
controlled for. Early expressive vocabulary at 2 years and receptive language at 4 years made a strong contribution
to emotional and behavioural functioning at 6 years in addition to biological risk. The final model accounted for
11.6% of the variance in emotional and behavioural functioning at 6 years. Conclusions: The study identified that
early language ability at 2 years, specifically expressive vocabulary and later receptive language at 4 years both made
a moderate, but important contribution to emotional and behavioural functioning at 6 years of age. Although
children’s language development is important in understanding children’s emotional and behavioural functioning,
the study shows that it is one of many developmental factors involved. Keywords: Children, language development,
ALSPAC, emotional and behavioural functioning.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0021-9630
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 56
Issue 1
Pages 67-75
APA6 Citation Clegg, J., Law, J., Rush, R., Peters, T. J., & Roulstone, S. (2014). The contribution of early language development to children's emotional and behavioural functioning at 6 years: An analysis of data from the Children in Focus sample from the ALSPAC birth cohort. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56(1), 67-75. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12281
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12281
Keywords children, language development, ALSPAC, emotional and behavioural functioning
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12281
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