Reading and Writing

, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 539–558

Word reading and reading comprehension: stability, overlap and independence

  • Rebecca S. Betjemann
  • Erik G. Willcutt
  • Richard K. Olson
  • Janice M. Keenan
  • John C. DeFries
  • Sally J. Wadsworth
Article

Abstract

Longitudinal twin data were analyzed to investigate the etiology of the stability of genetic and environmental influences on word reading and reading comprehension, as well as the stability of those influences on their relationship. Participating twin pairs were initially tested at a mean age of 10.3 years, and retested approximately five years later. Both word reading and comprehension were found to be highly stable, and genetic influences were primarily responsible for that stability. In contrast to studies with younger participants, no unique genetic influences were observed at follow-up testing in this older sample. High genetic correlations were obtained between word reading and reading comprehension at both ages, indicating common genetic influences. However, significant genetic influence on comprehension was also observed, independent of that on word reading. Although the phenotypic relation between the two measures appeared to decline across time, the genetic etiology of this relation was highly stable.

Keywords

Behavior genetic Etiology Longitudinal Reading comprehension Stability Word reading 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca S. Betjemann
    • 1
  • Erik G. Willcutt
    • 1
  • Richard K. Olson
    • 1
  • Janice M. Keenan
    • 2
  • John C. DeFries
    • 1
  • Sally J. Wadsworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Behavioral GeneticsUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.University of DenverDenverUSA

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