Language and reading impairments are associated with increased prevalence of non-right handedness

Filippo Abbondanza, Philip S. Dale, Carol A. Wang, Marianna E. Hayiou-Thomas, Umar Toseeb, Tanner S Koomar, Karen G Wigg, Yu Feng, Kaitlyn M Price, Elizabeth N Kerr, Sharon L Guger, Maureen W Lovett, Lisa J Strug, Elsje van Bergen, Conor V. Dolan, J Bruce Tomblin, Kristina Moll, Gerd Schulte-Körne, Nina Neuhoff, Andreas WarnkeSimon E. Fisher, Cathy L Barr, Jacob J Michaelson, Dorret I. Boomsma, Margaret J. Snowling, Charles Hulme, Andrews J.O. Whitehouse, Craig E Pennell, Dianne F. Newbury, John Stein, Joel B. Talcott, Dorothy V.M. Bishop, Silvia Paracchini*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Handedness has been studied for association with language-related disorders because of its link with language hemispheric dominance. No clear pattern has emerged, possibly because of small samples, publication bias, and heterogeneous criteria across studies. Non-right-handedness (NRH) frequency was assessed in N = 2503 cases with reading and/or language impairment and N = 4316 sex-matched controls identified from 10 distinct cohorts (age range 6–19 years old; European ethnicity) using a priori set criteria. A meta-analysis (Ncases = 1994) showed elevated NRH % in individuals with language/reading impairment compared with controls (OR = 1.21, CI = 1.06–1.39, p = .01). The association between reading/language impairments and NRH could result from shared pathways underlying brain lateralization, handedness, and cognitive functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)970-984
Number of pages15
JournalChild Development
Issue number4
Early online date13 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2023


  • Handedness
  • Reading
  • Language
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Meta-analysis
  • Neurodevelopment


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