This article provides a review of research into the social and emotional functioning of adolescents with specific language impairment (SLI). In particular, we focus on peer relations, peer friendships, bullying, emotional difficulties and psychiatric difficulties. As a group, adolescents with SLI tend to be more vulnerable to problems in these domains than are typical adolescents. However, there is considerable heterogeneity among those with SLI, and some individuals experience positive outcomes. We stress the need to understand adolescence and SLI in a developmental context. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the research findings for service provision to support the needs of young people with language impairments. © The Author(s) 2010.