Social reasoning skills in adults with Down syndrome: the role of language, executive functions and socio-emotional behaviour
Van der Linden, Martial
Date de parution
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, Wiley, 2010/54/8/714-726
<i>Background</i> Although the prevalence of mental illness and behaviour problems is lower in adults with Down syndrome (DS) than in other populations with intellectual disabilities, they do present emotional and relational problems, as well as social integration difficulties. However, studies reporting on specific competences known to be central in developing appropriate social relationships (e.g. social reasoning, emotion processing, theory of mind) remain rare in the adult DS population and the mechanisms underlying these people's emotional and relational difficulties are unclear. <br> <i>Method</i> The present study investigated the ability to understand the appropriateness of others' social behaviour in 34 adults with DS, using the Social Resolution Task (SRT). Their results were compared with those of 34 typically developing (TD) children matched for gender and receptive vocabulary. The relationships among the SRT experimental task, cognitive competences (receptive and productive vocabulary, non-verbal reasoning, inhibition, selective attention) and a caregiver-rated measure of socio-emotional behaviour were examined in the DS group. <br> <i>Results</i> The DS participants' global SRT scores did not differ from those of the controls. However, analyses of the SRT subscores revealed that the DS group identified significantly fewer inappropriate situations than the control group. Nevertheless, when they correctly identified the behaviour as inappropriate, they were as well as the controls to explain the rules underlying their responses. Regression analyses showed that receptive vocabulary and selective attention and a specific dimension of the socio-emotional profile (social relating skills) constituted the best predictors of the DS adults' performance on the SRT. <br> <i>Conclusions</i> The main findings show that the DS participants demonstrate relatively good social reasoning skills in comparison with TD children matched for verbal age. However, the two groups present distinctions in their response patterns, and the influence of cognitive variables on success on the SRT also appears different. While selective attention skills are found to be significant predictors for both groups, the influence of receptive vocabulary level is much stronger in the DS group. The implications of particular cognitive and socio-emotional factors for success on the SRT in this group are considered in more detail.
Type de publication
Resource Types::text::journal::journal article