An exploration of the modulation of aggression and impulsivity in preschool children with developmental language disorders

Melissa Kaye-Swift, Pace University


This study examined patterns of aggression and impulsivity in preschoolers with two types of Developmental Language Disorders (receptive and expressive), as compared to a sample of preschoolers with intact language functioning. All subjects were 3-5 years old. It was hypothesized that children with expressive language disorders and children with receptive language disorders would demonstrate a greater degree of aggressive behavior and impulsive behavior than children without language disorders. It was also hypothesized that children with receptive language disorders would demonstrate more aggressive responses than children with expressive language disorder. It was expected that impulsivity would correlate with aggressivity in both the experimental and the control groups. The children of all three groups were asked to complete the following: Non-Verbal Technique for Assessing Frustration Response in Preschool Children, the Multidimensional Aggression Scale, and the Gordon Diagnostic System (GDS) The children were also observed directly during a structured play session. The parents of the participating children were asked to complete the Personality Inventory for Children (PIC), The Burks' Behavior Rating Scale and a demographic questionnaire. The classroom teachers were also asked to complete The Burks' Behavior Rating Scale. Results of these analyses indicated that language disordered children sometimes behaved more aggressively and impulsively than children with normal language skills. In many cases gender differences were found, with boys being more aggressive and impulsive than girls. Receptively disordered children were somewhat more aggressive than expressively disordered children. It was noted that teachers perceive more of the behavioral difficulties than parents. Parents did perceive behavioral differences between boys and girls. The correlation between impulsivity and aggressivity depends upon the source of information and the group. The purpose of this study was to enhance the understanding of children with Developmental Language Disorders in terms of how their language disability may be related to their ability to control aggressive behaviors. This was a first step in the investigation of aggressive and impulsive behaviors in this population, paving the way for additional study of the relationship between language disorders, behavior problems and gender issues.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Kaye-Swift, Melissa, "An exploration of the modulation of aggression and impulsivity in preschool children with developmental language disorders" (1992). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9316437.



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