Miranda rights comprehension in young adults with specific language impairment

Gwyneth C. Rost, Karla K. McGregor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether citizens with language impairment understand legal rights as conveyed in Miranda warnings. Method: Grisso's Instruments for Assessing Understanding and Appreciation of Miranda Rights (1998) was administered to 34 young adults, half of whom met the diagnostic criteria for specific language impairment (SLI). A correlational analysis of the relationship between language scores and Miranda rights comprehension was conducted, as were tests of differences between individuals with SLI (n = 17) and individuals without SLI. Results: Language ability was positively correlated with overall performance on the Miranda measure. As a group, individuals with SLI were significantly poorer than their peers with normal language at defining Miranda vocabulary and applying Miranda rights in hypothetical situations. The group with SLI was also marginally less able to paraphrase Miranda sentences. Conclusion: Language impairment limits comprehension of Miranda warnings. As a result, citizens with language impairment are at risk of being denied their constitutional rights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-108
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Language comprehension
  • Miranda rights
  • Specific language impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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