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Within a dimensional view of reading disorders, it is important to understand the role of environmental factors in determining individual differences in literacy outcome. In the present study, we compared a group of 40 parents of children with dyslexia (PDys) with a group of 40 parents of typically developing children. The two parent groups did not differ in socioeconomic status or nonverbal IQ. Participants were assessed on cognitive (IQ, digit span) and literacy (reading fluency and accuracy) tasks, phonological awareness and verbal fluency measures. Questionnaires addressed reading history, parental distress, family functioning, anxiety and depression. The PDys group performed worse in all literacy measures and more frequently reported a history of poor reading; they also showed more parental distress. There were no differences between the two groups in depression or family functioning and no differences between mothers and fathers. Findings indicate that PDys show a cognitive profile consistent with the broader phenotype of dyslexia (i.e. reading impairment and poor phonological awareness), whereas, considering the emotional profile, the impact of dyslexia on the family system is limited to parental distress associated with the perception of having a child with specific needs.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





175 - 190


Parenting Stress Index, broader phenotype, dyslexia, parents, reading skills, Adaptation, Psychological, Adolescent, Adult, Child, Comprehension, Dyslexia, Emotions, Female, Humans, Male, Parent-Child Relations, Parenting, Parents, Reading, Social Perception