Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 1

Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Locker


There is debate surrounding how to effectively identify and distinguish reading disabilities from other deficits in college populations. Although several theories have proposed a positive relationship between nonword decoding weaknesses and higher intelligence levels, currently there is no conclusive evidence supporting these claims. The primary purpose of the current study was to determine if individuals of diverging levels of verbal intellectual functioning display profile differences with regard to accuracy for spelling and single word reading of regular words and nonwords. Identifying the specific deficits displayed in populations with reading disabilities assists in formulating interventions targeted at areas of weakness and in determining appropriate academic accommodations. Participants consisted of college students who have received a formal diagnosis of a reading disability. Participants’ Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) scores on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale scores were used to determine grouping (High, Average, Low). Participants’ performance on intellectual and achievement tests for nonword reading, nonword spelling, real word reading and real world spelling served as the dependent variables. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to analyze mean differences among the three groups’ spelling and word reading scores for real words and nonwords. Results indicated that the three groups significantly differed on all reading subscales variables. Notably, the High Reading group scored significantly higher than the Low and Average Reading groups on all subtests of reading. These findings were partially consistent with the study’s hypotheses. Theoretical and practical implications are explored further.