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Publication Detail
Longitudinal associations between reading for pleasure and child maladjustment: Results from a propensity score matching analysis
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Mak HW, Fancourt D
  • Publication date:
    01/05/2020
  • Journal:
    Social Science and Medicine
  • Volume:
    253
  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Print ISSN:
    0277-9536
Abstract
© 2020 The Authors Rationale: Reading for pleasure has been shown to have benefits for academic attainment and the development of empathy. Yet, whether reading for pleasure is linked with other aspects of children's development remains unclear. Objective. This study examines the association between reading for pleasure and children's psychological and behavioural adjustment at the onset of adolescence. Method. We analysed data from 8936 participants in the Millennium Cohort Study, Sweeps 4 (age 7) and 5 (age 11), and used propensity score matching methods to match children who read frequently with children with similar individual, social, familial, and behavioural characteristics who read less often. Results. Daily reading for pleasure at age 7 was associated with lower levels of hyperactivity/inattention and better prosocial behaviour at age 11. These results for hyperactivity/inattention were replicated when analysing data specifically from children with a history of hyperactivity/inattention at age 7. Results also show that daily reading for pleasure was associated with lower levels of emotional problems. Results were robust to a range of sensitivity analyses. Conclusions. Daily reading for pleasure in childhood is independently associated with better behavioural adjustment at the onset of adolescence. Future studies could explore the potential benefit of interventions to encourage reading.
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