According to Recent Study Children Who Read for Pleasure Have Better Mental Health

International Business Times (UK) just posted this story on new research showing children who read for pleasure have better mental health and cognition: 

“In a joint study of over 10,000 young adolescents by the University of Cambridge and Fudan University in China, researchers have found that children who begin reading for pleasure from a young age tend to perform better at cognitive tests, and have better mental health. The study was published on June 27th in Psychological Medicine, an online medical journal.

Researchers in China and the UK found that twelve hours a week was the optimal amount of reading time and this, simultaneously, serves as a link to improved brain structure and overall mental well-being. . . . 

To investigate this potential link further, researchers from the universities of Cambridge in the UK and Fudan University in China examined data from more than 10,000 adolescents in the US by using the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD), the largest long-term study of child health and brain development in the United States. The team analysed a variety of data including cognitive test results, brain scans and mental and behavioural assessments, comparing those who began reading at a young age, to those who began reading later, or not at all.

Of the total 10,243 participants studied, 48 per cent had little experience of reading for pleasure, or did not begin doing so until later on in their childhood. In contrast, the other half of the participants had spent between three and ten years reading for pleasure.

From these results, the researchers identified a strong link between adolescents reading for pleasure at an early age and a positive performance on the cognitive tests that measured factors such as verbal learning, memory and speech development.

The children that had begun reading for pleasure at an early age were shown to have better mental well-being, which was assessed by using various clinical scores, and reports from parents and teachers. From this, the researchers found that these children showed significantly fewer signs of stress and depression, improved attention spans and fewer behavioural problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression.”

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