Morphosyntactic Development and Severe Parental Neglect in 4-Year-Old French-Speaking Children: ELLAN study

Article de revue


État de publication: Publiée (2019 )

Nom de la revue: Child Maltreatment

Volume: 24

Numéro: 3

Intervalle de pages: 254-264

ISBN: 1552-6119

Résumé: Language is the most frequently compromised area of development in English-speaking neglected children, particularly the morphosyntactic component of language. This is very worrisome given its central role in academic success and social participation. No previous study has examined the morphosyntactic skills of French-speaking neglected children, despite the morphological richness of French. This study aimed to fill this gap. Forty-four neglected (mean age = 48.32 months, SD = 0.45) and 92 non-neglected (mean age = 48.07 months, SD = 0.24) French-speaking children participated. Measures of morphosyntactic skills were derived from a sample of spontaneous language collected during standardized semistructured play and analyzed using Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts software (2012) . Four morphosyntactic indicators were compared using analyses of variance and Kolmogorov–Smirnov tests: the mean length of utterances (MLU), verbal inflections, word-level errors, and omission errors. The results indicate that 25.6% of the neglected children presented clinically significant morphosyntactic difficulties, as evidenced by a significantly shorter MLU (M = 5.60, SD = 1.13; M = 6.90, SD = 1.30), fewer verbal inflections, and more frequent word omission errors compared to their non-neglected peers. The results confirm that French-speaking neglected children present many morphosyntactic difficulties. This study argues for sustained speech–language services for these children.

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