Responsive Facility: Dyslexia and allied reading difficulties and their relationship with mental health problems: A rapid review of evidence (February 2020 - April 2020)
Professor Jess Deighton, Anna Gilleard, Dr Melissa Cortina, Dr Jenny Woodman
About the review
Higher levels of mental health problems in those with reading difficulties such as dyslexia are widely recognised. But the reasons for this are less clear. Our rapid review looked at existing evidence for the relationship between poor reading ability and/or reading disorders including dyslexia, and mental health problems.
We found three key pathways that explain the raised levels of prevalence.
A) Common risk factors that predict both reading difficulties and mental health problems
B) Reading difficulties leading to mental health problems through low self-esteem, stigma and bullying
C) Mental health problems exacerbating existing reading difficulties through aversion to reading or expectation of failure
- Early identification and support for dyslexia and allied reading difficulties should be prioritised. Detection early in primary school years is important but subsequent checks may be needed to ensure difficulties emerging later are not missed.
- Recognition of increased likelihood of mental health problems for those with reading difficulties should be widespread, especially in teachers.
- Support and intervention should be provided that tackles both dyslexia and mental health problems.
- Better understanding of the long-term relationship between mental health problems and reading difficulties is needed.