Physical Abuse as an ‘add-on’ factor in Dyslexia

The prevalence of dyslexia seems to be higher in individuals with a history of childhood physical abuse, according to a study published online June 30 in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Esme Fuller-Thomson, PhD, from the University of Toronto, and Stephen R. Hooper, PhD, from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, examined the correlation between a history of dyslexia and childhood physical abuse. They conducted a secondary analysis of data from 13,054 respondents, aged ≥18 years, from the Saskatchewan and Manitoba sample of the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey.

The researchers found that 34.8% of respondents who reported having been physically abused during childhood had dyslexia, compared with 7.2% of those who did not report being physically abused (P<0.001). After adjustment for sociodemographic variables, the odds ratio for dyslexia was more than seven-fold higher (odds ratio, 7.09) for those with vs. those without a history of physical abuse. The odds were attenuated after further adjustment for other adverse childhood experiences (odds ratio, 6.09).

Further research is needed to understand the mechanism linking physical abuse and dyslexia,” the authors write.