Are RAN- and phonological awareness-deficits additive in children with reading disabilities?Dyslexia. 2001 Jul-Sep; 7(3):125-49.D
The double-deficit hypothesis (Wolf, M. and Bowers, P.G. (1999) The double-deficit hypothesis for the developmental dyslexias. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 415-438) proposes that deficits in phonological processing and rapid automatized naming (RAN) are separable sources of reading dysfunction. Further, the double-deficit hypothesis predicts that the presence of deficits in both phonological processing and RAN have an additive negative influence on reading performance above and beyond that of a single deficit. The purpose of this study was to examine the additive nature of phonological awareness (PA)- and RAN-deficits on written language skill in children with reading disabilities (RD). Concurrent relationships between PA, RAN, and written language skills were examined in 476 children with RD, ranging in age from 8 to 18 years of age. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that PA and RAN skill have an additive effect on a majority of the reading and spelling measures. When participants were classified into three deficit subtypes based on the double-deficit model (i.e. phonological-, rate-, and double-deficit), comparisons across the subtypes confirmed that individuals with double-deficits performed below the single-deficit groups on both subtyping variables (RAN and PA) and all measures of written language. When the double- and single-deficit groups were matched on the subtyping variable (i.e. double- and rate-deficit groups matched on RAN and double- and phonological-deficit groups matched on PA) differences between the double- and rate-deficit groups remained in non-word reading, whereas differences between the double- and phonological-deficit groups remained in timed word recognition and reading comprehension. These results support an additive model in which RAN-deficits primarily affect tasks that require speeded/fluent response, and PA-deficits primarily affect tasks that emphasize phonological processing skill. Results are also presented that illustrate several statistical problems associated with the formation of deficit groups by dichotomizing the RAN and PA variables.