This study examines the role of morphological awareness (MA) in literacy achievement and compensation in word reading of adults with dyslexia through an exploration of three questions: 1) Do adult dyslexics demonstrate a deficit in MA and how is this potential deficit related to phonological awareness (PA)? 2) Does MA contribute independently to literacy skills equally in dyslexics and control readers? 3) Do MA and PA skills differ in compensated and non-compensated dyslexics?
A group of dyslexic and normal reading university students matched for age, education and IQ participated in this study. Group analysis demonstrated an MA deficit in dyslexics; as well, MA was found to significantly predict a greater proportion of word reading and spelling within the dyslexic group compared to the controls. Compensated dyslexics were also found to perform significantly better on the morphological task than non-compensated dyslexics. Additionally, no statistical difference was observed in MA between the normal reading controls and the compensated group (independent of phonological awareness and vocabulary).
Results suggest that intact and strong morphological awareness skills contribute to the achieved compensation of this group of adults with dyslexia. Implications for MA based intervention strategies for people with dyslexia are discussed.