Purpose: The use of foul language becomes increasingly popular among youth, yet scientific research on this topic is grossly missing in the literature. This longitudinal study examined the developmental change of foul language use and its relations to emotional competence, social competence, and moral competence over high school years.
Methods: Data were from a six-year longitudinal study between grade 7 and grade 12 with an annual assessment on 3,328 Hong Kong adolescents (mean age = 12.59 ±.74 years). Multiple-group latent growth curve modeling based on six waves of longitudinal data were conducted.
Results: Results showed that the use of foul language increased, but the increase rate slowed down over time; males showed faster increase rate yet faster deceleration than did females. In addition, changes in emotional competence, social competence, and moral competence negatively predicted the change in use of foul language across males and females, respectively.
Conclusions: Adolescents are vulnerable to increasing their use of foul language. However, promoting emotional competence, social competence, and moral competence could be helpful to minimize the increasing trend of use of foul language.
This work is financially supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
© 2016 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
- Developmental change
- Emotional competence
- Moral competence
- Social competence
- Use of foul language