Numerous studies have demonstrated an association between learning disabilities and internalising problems such as anxiety and depression. However, our understanding of this association for people with specific types of learning disability – such as poor reading – is poorly understood. Here, we present the first systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that have examined associations between poor reading and internalising problems – including anxiety and depression – in children, adolescents, and adults. Our systematic search identified 34 studies comprising 16,275 participants (N = 2,491 poor readers). Our meta-analysis revealed statistically significant differences between poor readers and typical readers on general measures of internalising problems (d = 0.41), as well as specific measures of anxiety (d = 0.41) and depression (d = 0.23). These outcomes suggest that poor readers are at moderate risk for experiencing internalising problems compared to typical readers, which appears to stem from a greater risk for anxiety than depression.
- poor reading