This prospective longitudinal study aims to determine patterns and predictors of change in depression and anxiety from adolescence to adulthood in individuals with language impairment (LI). Individuals with LI originally recruited at age 7 years and a comparison group of age-matched peers (AMPs) were followed from adolescence (16 years) to adulthood (24 years). We determine patterns of change in depression and anxiety using the Child Manifest Anxiety Scale-Revised (CMAS-R) and Short Moods and Feelings Questionnaire (SMFQ). In addition to examining associations with gender, verbal and nonverbal skills, we use a time-varying variable to investigate relationships between depression and anxiety symptoms and transitions in educational/employment circumstances. The results show that anxiety was higher in participants with LI than age matched peers and remained so from adolescence to adulthood. Individuals with LI had higher levels of depression symptoms than did AMPs at 16 years. Levels in those with LI decreased post-compulsory schooling but rose again by 24 years of age. Those who left compulsory school provision (regardless of school type) for more choice-driven college but who were not in full-time employment or study by 24 years of age were more likely to show this depression pathway. Verbal and nonverbal skills were not predictive of this pattern of depression over time. The typical female vulnerability for depression and anxiety was observed for AMPs but not for individuals with LI. These findings have implications for service provision, career/employment advice and support for individuals with a history of LI during different transitions from adolescence to adulthood.
- mental health
- language impairments