The Relationship Between Social Behavior and Severity of Language Impairment


social skills, language impairment, socioemotional, withdrawal, social competence


The Teacher Behavior Rating Scale (C. H. Hart & C. C. Robinson, 1996) was used to compare the withdrawn and sociable behaviors of 41 children with specific language impairment (SLI) and 41 typically developing peers. Three subtypes of withdrawal (reticence, solitary-active, solitary-passive) and 2 subtypes of sociable behavior (prosocial, impulse control/likeability) were examined. Teachers rated children with SLI as exhibiting higher levels of reticence and solitary-passive withdrawal than typical children. Teachers also rated the children with SLI as demonstrating lower levels of both types of sociable behavior than typical children. The group with SLI was then separated into subgroups of children having more severe and less severe language impairment. These groupings did not differ on comparisons involving withdrawn behavior, except that girls with more severe receptive problems demonstrated higher levels of solitary-passive withdrawal than did girls with less severe language problems. Children with less severe receptive language impairment demonstrated higher levels of proficiency on both types of sociable behavior than their peers with more severe impairment. Children with more severe expressive problems also demonstrated poorer prosocial behavior—but not poorer impulse control/likeability—than children with less severe expressive problems.

Original Publication Citation

Hart, K. I., Fujiki, M., Brinton, B., & Hart, C. H. (2004). The relationship between social behavior and severity of language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47,647-662

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor