Language and social factors in the use of cell phone technology by adolescents with and without specific language impairment (SLI)

G. Conti-Ramsden, Kevin Durkin, Z. Simkin

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aimed to compare cell phone use (both oral and text-based) by adolescents with and without specific language impairment (SLI) and examine the extent to which language and social factors affect frequency of use. Method: Both interview and diary methods were used to compare oral and text-based communication using cell phones by 17-year-olds: 52 adolescents with SLI and 52 typically developing (TD) peers. Results: Overall, adolescents with SLI are motivated users of mobile technology, and they engage with both oral uses (phoning) and text-based uses (text messaging). However, adolescents with SLI do not exchange text messages as often as their TD peers. Social rather than language factors are associated with frequency of cell phone use in adolescence. Conclusions: These findings indicate that social difficulties restrict text-based uses of cell phones by adolescents with SLI, which can in turn reduce the opportunities that these adolescents have to develop social networks and make arrangements to engage in peer social interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-208
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


  • cell phones
  • language
  • social factors
  • adolescence
  • specific language impairment
  • SLI

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