Individual prediction of dyslexia by single versus multiple deficit models.

Bruce F. Pennington, Laura Santerre-Lemmon, Jennifer Rosenberg, Beatriz MacDonald, Richard Boada, Angela Friend, Daniel R. Leopold, Stefan Samuelsson, Brian Byrne, Erik G. Willcutt, Richard K. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations


The overall goals of this study were to test single versus multiple cognitive deficit models of dyslexia (reading disability) at the level of individual cases and to determine the clinical utility of these models for prediction and diagnosis of dyslexia. To accomplish these goals, we tested five cognitive models of dyslexia--two single-deficit models, two multiple-deficit models, and one hybrid model--in two large population-based samples, one cross-sectional (Colorado Learning Disability Research Center) and one longitudinal (International longitudinal Twin Study). The cognitive deficits included in these cognitive models were in phonological awareness, language skill, and processing speed and/or naming speed. To determine whether an individual case fit one of these models, we used two methods: 1) the presence or absence of the predicted cognitive deficits, and 2) whether the individual's level of reading skill best fit the regression equation with the relevant cognitive predictors (i.e., whether their reading skill was proportional to those cognitive predictors.) We found that roughly equal proportions of cases met both tests of model fit for the multiple deficit models (30-36%) and single deficit models (24-28%); hence, the hybrid model provided the best overall fit to the data. The remaining roughly 40% of cases in each sample lacked the deficit or deficits that corresponded with their best-fitting regression model. We discuss the clinical implications of these results for both diagnosis of school-age children and preschool prediction of children at risk for dyslexia. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-224
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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