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Revisiting the Association Between Reading Achievement and Antisocial Behavior: New Evidence of an Environmental Explanation From a Twin Study

Previous studies have reported, but not explained, the reason for a robust association between reading
achievement and antisocial behavior. This association was investigated using the Environmental Risk (E-Risk)
Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative 1994 – 1995 birth cohort of 5- and 7-year-olds. Results
showed that the association resulted primarily from environmental factors common to both reading and antisocial
behavior and was stronger in boys. Environmental factors also explained the relation between reading
disability and conduct disorder. Leading candidate environmental risk factors weakly mediated the association.
For boys the best explanation was a reciprocal causation model: poor reading led to antisocial behavior, and vice
versa. In contrast, the relation between reading achievement and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was
best explained by common genetic influences.
Dr. Kali Trzesniewski,
Oct 31, 2011, 10:41 AM