Reading disability, behaviour problems and juvenile delinquency

Rob McGEE, David Share, Terrie E. Moffitt, Sheila M. Williams, Phil A. Silva

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The consistency of reports of an association between reading disability and various problem behaviours both over time and across different types of samples suggests that the relationship is robust. What is not clear is the nature of the relationship or 'what leads to what.' However, this is an important question because of its implications for intervention. This chapter first reviews findings from longitudinal studies of reading and behavior and reading disabilities and juvenile delinquency. The authors then summarise the results of a longitudinal analysis of data from the Dunedin (New Zealand) multidisciplinary health and development study on the association between reading disability and problem behaviour in boys and girls from age 5 to 11 yrs. They also report the results of a follow-up of reading-disabled boys and girls at age 13, with an emphasis on juvenile delinquency and attitudes to schooling and education. The evidence from the Dunedin study suggest a long-term association between reading disability and behaviour problems in both boys and girls. Furthermore, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that the behaviour problems of most of the reading-disabled children arose as a consequence of a failure to learn to read rather than vice-versa.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndividual differences in children and adolescents.
EditorsD. H. Saklofske, S. B. G. Eysenck
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ, US
PublisherTransaction Publishers
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)1-56000-981-0
StatePublished - 1988

Bibliographical note

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  • *Behavior Problems
  • *Juvenile Delinquency
  • Reading Disabilities


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