No clear genetic influences on the association between dyslexia and anxiety in a population-based sample of female twins

Dyslexia. 2009 Nov;15(4):282-90. doi: 10.1002/dys.378.


Individuals with dyslexia are at an increased risk for anxiety disorders (e.g. generalized anxiety disorder, stress disorders, panic disorder). The extent to which this association is mediated by genetic and/or environmental influences is unclear. The current study explored the relationship between these two phenotypes using a large population-based twin sample. In total, 940 monozygotic and 903 dizygotic female twin pairs were included in the analyses. The presence of dyslexia and anxiety was determined by self-report of diagnosis by a health professional. Tetrachoric correlations confirmed an association between the two phenotypes, but suggested that there was no evidence for shared genetic risks. Bivariate twin modelling corroborated this finding and indicated the relationship between dyslexia and anxiety is mediated by shared environmental factors. Future research should seek to identifying the environmental factors that increase the vulnerability of individuals with dyslexia to emotional problems should be a priority for future research.

Publication types

  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / genetics*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics
  • Diseases in Twins / psychology
  • Dyslexia / genetics*
  • Dyslexia / psychology
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phenotype
  • Population
  • Registries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic
  • United Kingdom