Reading and Writing

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 1039–1061 | Cite as

Differential identification of females and males with reading difficulties: A meta-analysis

  • Jamie M. Quinn


Males are more likely than females to be identified as having reading difficulties, but it is unclear if this is a result of sample ascertainment or identification bias. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine the magnitude of gender differences in reading difficulties using available studies in which researchers investigated this difference and an additional dataset with a representative U.S. sample. After conducting a literature search, sixteen studies and a restricted use dataset were included in the present analysis (N = 552,729). A random-effects odds ratio model indicated that males are 1.83 times more likely than females to have reading difficulties. Moderator analyses revealed that the gender ratio is greater when the identified reading difficulties were more severe. Further, this difference in identification rates across males and females was found without evidence of publication bias. Implications for the identification of students with reading difficulties are discussed.


Gender differences Reading Meta-analysis Identification 



This research was supported by grant P50 HD052117-07 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health. I would like to express my immense gratitude to Dr. Greg Roberts, Dr. Sharon Vaughn, and Dr. Richard Wagner for their incredible mentorship.

Supplementary material

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational RiskThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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