Examining the association between language, expository discourse and offending behaviour: an investigation of direction, strength and independence.

Hopkins, T. (2017) Examining the association between language, expository discourse and offending behaviour: an investigation of direction, strength and independence. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 53 (1). pp. 113-129. ISSN 13682822 (ISSN)

[img]
Preview
Text
Hopkins July 2017 Language and Offending Paper.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (785kB)

Abstract

Background
A high prevalence of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is reported in the population of Young Offenders (YO). However, little is known about the extent of the association between language and offending behaviour relative to social disadvantage, education attendance and non-verbal intelligence (IQ), and neither has this association been investigated with particular reference to the expository discourse abilities of YOs on community orders in the UK .
Aims
This study aimed to examine the direction and strength of the association between language and offending behaviour by comparing the receptive and expressive language and expository discourse abilities of male and female YOs and non-offenders in the UK, relative to the confounds of social disadvantage, years of education attended and non-verbal IQ. Examining expository discourse provided a measure of the YOs’ ability to verbally communicate complex information; a communication ability that is fundamental to engaging effectively in youth offending services and secondary education.
Method
An opportunity sample of 52 YOs was recruited from a youth offending service. The YO group was matched on years of education, social disadvantage and non-verbal IQ to a purpose selected comparison group of 25 non-offenders. All participants had English as their first language and were not currently receiving any speech and language intervention. Participants completed standardized measures of receptive and expressive language and an expository discourse measure. The incidence of DLD was identified and compared across offender group using scores from the language and expository discourse measures and gender differences were also explored. Finally, logistical regression analysis was used to test the association between language performance and offending status relative to the confounds of social disadvantage, education attendance and non-verbal IQ.
Outcomes and Results
A large proportion of YOs scored below test norms for the language and expository discourse measures, which indicated a high incidence of DLD that was much larger than that displayed by the non-offenders. No differences were found on language performance between male and female YOs. Logistic regression analyses found that as language performance increased, the probability of being a non-offender significantly increased.
Conclusions and Implications
Participants were over 1 to 5 times more likely to be classified as a non-offender for every unit increase in the language and expository discourse scores. The statistically significant positive association found between language and offending behaviour relative to other confounds, highlights the important role of language in understanding offending behaviour. YOs displayed high incidences of DLD in their language and expository discourse abilities despite having not received any speech and language intervention prior to their involvement in this study. This has implications for their effective engagement in education and in youth offending and criminal justice services (CJS). Professionals in education, health and social care and youth justice should be made aware of the language needs of both YOs and children with emotional behavioural difficulties, and these language needs should be identified and targeted as early as possible to enable them to be effective communicators who can engage effectively in their provision.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L500 Social Work
L900 Others in Social studies
Q100 Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Social Care, Health and Related Research (C-SHARR) > Health and Wellbeing
Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Health Sciences
UoA Collections > REF2021 UoA 03: Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing & Pharmacy
Depositing User: Thomas Hopkins
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2018 07:24
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2018 03:00
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4936

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Research

In this section...