SAGE Journal Articles

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Braze, D., Tabor, W., Shankweiler, D. P., & Mencl, W. E. (2007). Speaking up for vocabulary: Reading skill differences in young adults. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40, 226-243.

This study is part of a broader project aimed at developing cognitive and neurocognitive profiles of adolescent and young adult readers whose educational and occupational prospects are constrained by their limited literacy skills. We explore the relationships among reading-related abilities in participants ages 16 to 24 years spanning a wide range of reading ability. Two specific questions are addressed: (a) Does the simple view of reading capture all nonrandom variation in reading comprehension? (b) Does orally assessed vocabulary knowledge account for variance in reading comprehension, as predicted by the lexical quality hypothesis? A comprehensive battery of cognitive and educational tests was employed to assess phonological awareness, decoding, verbal working memory, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, word knowledge, and experience with print. In this heterogeneous sample, decoding ability clearly played an important role in reading comprehension. The simple view of reading gave a reasonable fit to the data, although it did not capture all of the reliable variance in reading comprehension as predicted. Orally assessed vocabulary knowledge captured unique variance in reading comprehension even after listening comprehension and decoding skill were accounted for. We explore how a specific connectionist model of lexical representation and lexical access can account for these findings.

Garcia, S. M., & Tor, A. (2009). The N-effect: More competitors, less competition. Psychological Science, 20, 871-877.

This article introduces the N-effect—the discovery that increasing the number of competitors (N) can decrease competitive motivation. Studies 1a and 1b found evidence that average test scores (e.g., SAT scores) fall as the average number of test takers at test-taking venues increases. Study 2 found that individuals trying to finish an easy quiz among the top 20% in terms of speed finished significantly faster if they believed they were competing in a pool of 10 rather than 100 other people. Study 3 showed that the N-effect is strong among individuals high in social-comparison orientation and weak among those low in social-comparison orientation. Study 4 directly linked the N-effect to social comparison, ruling out ratio bias as an explanation of our results and finding that social comparison becomes less important as N increases. Finally, Study 5 found that the N-effect is mediated by social comparison. Limitations, future directions, and implications are discussed.

Quirk, M., Schwanenflugel, P. J., & Webb, M. (2009). A short-term longitudinal study of the relationship between motivation to read and reading fluency skill in second grade. Journal of Literacy Research, 41, 196-227.  

This short-term longitudinal study investigated the relationships between students' reading self-concept, goals for reading, and reading fluency skill over the course of the second grade year. Second-grade children (N = 185) were administered the Test of Word Reading Efficiency, the second-grade Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills, and an adapted version of Motivation to Read Profile at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. Results showed that students' goals for reading were related to reading self-concept, but unrelated to reading fluency. In addition, reading self-concept was significantly related to reading fluency at each time point. Latent-variable path analysis was used to test four potential relationships between students' reading self-concept and reading fluency skill: (a) an independence model, (b) a skill development model, (c) a self-enhancement model, and (d) a reciprocal effects model. Support for a reciprocal model was found between students' reading fluency skill and reading self-concept over the second grade year. This finding also indicated that students' reading self-concept begins to influence their reading achievement earlier than previous research had indicated. Implications for educational practice and future research will also be discussed.

Sousa, P., Gaspar, P., Fonseca, H., & Gaspar, F. (2014). Lifestyle and treatment adherence among overweight adolescents. Journal of Health Psychology, 1-11.  

This study evaluated the influence of overweight adolescents’ lifestyle on the adherence to weight control, and identifies their predictors. Participants were 94 adolescents, aged 12–18 years, attending a Paediatric Obesity Clinic. Lifestyle was assessed using the “Adolescent Lifestyle Profile” and treatment adherence through the “Therapeutic Adherence to Weight Control Questionnaire.” Adherence to weight control was associated with various lifestyle domains. Several predictors were identified for lifestyle and adherence to weight control among overweight adolescents. A broad array of inter-correlations and predictors were identified and should be taken into account when designing adolescent weight control interventions.