Can the socio-economic status of young children influence their language performance? An Indian study

Nikita Dadlani, Sudhin Karuppali, Jayashree Sunil Bhat, Radish Kumar Balasubramanium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Language development during early childhood is crucial to a child’s overall development. The socioeconomic status (SES) is a major contributing factor to development, whose impact on language is less explored in young children especially in a multicultural country like India. This research focussed on assessing the semantic language of children from lower socio-economic (LSE) and higher socio-economic (HSE) status. Method: Sixty typically-developing Kannada speaking children between 2 and 5 years of age were classified into 3 groups (Group I: 2.0 – 2.11, Group II: 3.0 – 3.11, and Group III: 4.0 – 4.11 years), with each group being further divided into HSE and LSE subgroups. Language samples were collected using a picture description task and were analyzed for the semantic (total number of words and different words-TTR) measures. Descriptive statistics was done to determine mean and SD of both measures for each of the participants of the HSE and LSE subgroups. Non-parametric tests determined the level of significance between and across the HSE and LSE subgroups (between each of the 3 groups). Results: The results indicated a significant difference (p<0.05) across the HSE (I-HSE, II-HSE, and II-HSE) and LSE (I-LSE, II-LSE, and III-LSE) subgroups for the semantic measures. Comparison between the HSE and LSE subgroups indicated a significant difference (p<0.05) only between the 3 year-olds. Conclusion: These findings provide an insight into how early and to what extent SES impacts language development in 2, 3, and 4 year-old children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-33
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01-07-2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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