Factors influencing work participation of adults with developmental dyslexia: a systematic review

Joost de Beer*, Josephine Engels, Yvonne Heerkens, Jac van der Klink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Evidence has been synthesized to determine hindering and facilitating factors associated with the work participation of adults with developmental dyslexia (DD), classified according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

Methods: A systematic literature review has been performed. Two search strings were used to determine the population and the context of work. The ICF was expanded with two subdivisions: one that made the environmental factors more work-related and a subdivision of personal factors. For data extraction the method known as qualitative metasummary was used and the manifest frequency effect size (MFES) for each category in the ICF was calculated.

Results: From 33 included studies 318 factors have been extracted and classified in the ICF. In the classification the frequency of occurrences and the consistency in direction (i.e., hindering or facilitating) have been made visible. The ICF categories with the highest MFES were mental functions with factors like feelings and emotions about dyslexia; activities like reading or writing/spelling; participation with factors like acquiring and keeping a job; social relationships at work where the attitudes and support of the employer and co-workers are important; working conditions with factors like the availability of assistive technology and accommodations on the job; and personal factors like self-disclosure and coping strategies.

Conclusions: In the context of work DD affects nearly all domains of functioning, mostly in a negative way. Within each domain the impact of DD increases over the course of life. To overcome that negative influence, many forms of adaptation, compensation, or coping are mentioned. Also notable is the lack of positive attitudes toward DD of the participants with DD-with the exception of the attitudes of teachers with DD-as well as on the part of colleagues, supervisors, and employers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
Number of pages22
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • ICF
  • Developmental dyslexia
  • Work participation


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors influencing work participation of adults with developmental dyslexia: a systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this