between Reading Achievement and Antisocial Behavior in Young
British Twins: Tests of Environmental and Genetic Hypotheses
rates of antisocial behavior have been found among children
who are poor readers. However, it has not been clear whether
antisocial behavior interferes with learning to read, whether
poor reading skills raise risks for antisocial behavior, or
whether these different kinds of problems are related in other
ways. Using a national longitudinal sample of British twins,
Trzesniewski et al. (2006) tested associations between reading
achievement at age 7 and antisocial behavior (measured in
terms of CBCL and TRF Externalizing scores) at ages 5 and
7. Genetic factors were not found to explain the associations
between poor reading achievement and antisocial behavior.
Instead, among boys, the association between reading achievement
and antisocial behavior was accounted for mainly by environmental
risk factors that are common to both kinds of problems. Several
risk factors, such as low SES, unstimulating home environments,
and child neglect were significant predictors of both poor
reading achievement and antisocial behavior. Furthermore,
tests of causal models revealed reciprocal relations between
antisocial behavior and poor reading achievement, such that
the presence of either one could raise the risk for the other.
However, among girls, the associations were generally weaker
and indicated that antisocial behavior was a risk factor for
poor reading achievement but not vice versa. By contrast,
associations between attention problems and poor reading achievement
were accounted for mainly by genetic factors.
Trzesniewski, K.H., Moffitt, T. E.,
Caspi, A., Taylor, A., & Maughan, B. (2006). Revisiting
the Association between Reading Achievement and Antisocial
Behavior: New Evidence of an Environmental Explanation from
a Twin Study. Child Development, 77, 72-88.