The contribution of morphological awareness to literacy-based resiliency in college students

The contribution of morphological awareness to literacy-based resiliency in college students

First Author: Emily Farris -- Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia Middle Tennessee State University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Theodore Cristan II; Stuart E. Bernstein; Timothy N. Odegard
Keywords: Morphological Awareness, Resilience, University students, Dyslexia
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Some individuals affected by dyslexia are resilient readers, who comprehend written language in spite of word reading deficits (Pateal et al., 2018). Recently, Haft et al. (2016) advanced a literacy-based resiliency framework specifying candidate protective factors hypothesized to mitigate negative effects arising from deficits in phonological decoding on reading comprehension in this population. Morphological awareness (MA) was specified as a possible protective factor within this framework, and it may be especially important for college students. However, limited research has explored this possibility.
Method: In the current study, we explored the relationship between MA as a potential protective factor promoting reading resiliency in a sample of college students (N = 77). MA was measured using three tasks that place different demands on the morpho-syntactic system.
Results: A resiliency index was calculated as in prior research as a difference score between reading comprehension and decoding abilities and used as the dependent variable in multiple regression analyses. MA predicted the resiliency index. A moderated mediation analysis complimented the regression modeling by demonstrating that the indirect effect of phonological decoding on reading comprehension through word reading is moderated by MA abilities.
Conclusion: These results suggest that MA may facilitate one’s ability to comprehend text even if word level reading skills are weak. The moderated mediation analysis suggests that MA not only directly impacts reading comprehension, which is now a well-established finding, but also moderates the relationship between word reading and reading comprehension. These findings improve our understanding of resilient college-age readers.