Reading attainment and juvenile delinquency

S Williams, R McGee
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines 1994, 35 (3): 441-59
Structural equation modelling was used with data from a longitudinal study of child development (N = 698) to examine relationships between early reading attainment and antisocial behaviour at ages 7 and 9 years and subsequent reading and delinquent behaviour in adolescence. While reading, analysed as a continuous variable, did not directly influence later delinquency, antisocial behaviour during the early school years was strongly predictive of delinquency at age 15 years, particularly for boys, and had a detrimental effect on reading. These findings were independent of social disadvantage, and were unchanged by adjusting reading scores for IQ. Reading disability at 9 years old, however, predicted conduct disorder at age 15 in boys.

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