To what extent do in children and youth with dyslexia and language disorder have emotional and behavioral problems? A meta-analysis and systematic review

To what extent do in children and youth with dyslexia and language disorder have emotional and behavioral problems? A meta-analysis and systematic review

First Author: Enrica Donolato -- Department of Special Needs Education, Oslo (Norway)
Additional authors/chairs: 
Ramona Cardillo; Irene C. Mammarella; Monica Melby-Lervag
Keywords: Developmental dyslexia, Language impairment, Emotion, Behavioral Problems, Self-concept
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Some studies suggest that children with dyslexia and language disorders could be more likely to show emotional and behavioral problems and lower self-concept than typical controls. However, previous studies reported mixed findings, revealing that evidence is still inconsistent and not conclusive. We aim to summarize available evidence about the relation between emotional, behavioral and self-concept problems in children with dyslexia or language disorders.
Method: This preregisterred meta-analysis (PROSPERO Reference: CRD42017074013) was designed and reported in line with PRISMA. We conducted a literature search in different electronic bibliographic databases including MEDLINE, PsycINFO, ERIC, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Following different inclusion and exclusion criteria, seventy-five studies were identified and coded.
Results: Our findings show moderately higher anxiety, emotional and behavioral problems in children with dyslexia compared with typical controls. As for depression, there was a positive and small effect size suggesting that children with dyslexia show higher symptoms than peers. Concerning self-concept, there was a small and negative effect size indicating that individuals with dyslexia reported lower self-concept than typical controls. As for those with language disorders, our results suggest moderately higher anxiety, emotional and behavioral problems compared with controls.
Conclusions: Our findings show overall emotional and behavioral problems in people with dyslexia and language disorders. For clinical practice, assessment and interventions should also target emotional and behavioral aspects and self-concept to support children well-being. Theoretically, it is crucial to explore whether this is caused by genetic predispositions also for these disorders, or whether these are consequential problems from the disorders itself.