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Speech Delay in Kids Linked to Later Emotional Problems

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

Study Shows Language Delays at Age 5 May Lead to Mental Health Issues in Adulthood

By Denise Mann

WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

June 28, 2010 ­­

Children with speech delays may be at greater risk for developing social, emotional, or behavioral problems as adults, according to a 29­year study in the July issue of Pediatrics. Researchers used a standardized test to measure receptive language skills ­­ the ability to understand what others are saying ­­ among 6,941 children at age 5. Follow­up data were available on 72% of these children when they turned 34. Overall, children who showed signs of delays in receptive language skills at age 5 were more likely to experience mental health problems at age 34 than children who did not experience such delays. These findings were more pronounced among men than women, the study shows.

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