Relation Between Reading Problems and Internalizing Behavior in School for Preadolescent Children From Economically Disadvantaged Families


  • The William T. Grant Foundation supported this research. We thank Michelle Acosta, Kristen Schoff D'Eramo, Sarah Fine, Jen Kogos, Karen Levinson, David Schultz, Lina Umylny, and Eric Youngstrom for help on this study.

concerning this article should be addressed to Brian P. Ackerman, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, DE. Electronic mail may be sent to


This longitudinal study of 105 economically disadvantaged children examined the relation between reading problems and internalizing behavior in 3rd- and 5th-grade assessments (8- to 12-year olds). The variable-centered results showed that reading problems predicted change in internalizing behavior in the context of child and family predictors. The person-centered results showed that children with reading problems in both grades had higher internalizing scores in 5th grade but not in 3rd grade than children with reading problems in 3rd grade or no problems. Child-reported negative emotion experiences varied similarly across grade. The results tie reading problems to emotional distress in school and support conclusions about the direction of effects and the internalization of academic difficulty for disadvantaged children.