The Relation Between Finnish Conscripts’ Reading Difficulties (Rd), Cognitive Abilities And The Length Of Service Period

Heidi Hirvasoja-Korkee 1 , Leena Holopainen 1 , Asko Tolvanen 2 , and Jukka Leskinen 3
  • 1 Department of Special Education, Philosophical Faculty, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
  • 2 Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • 3 Department of Behavioural Sciences, National Defence University, Finland


In this study, the existence of reading difficulties (RD) among young adults and the relation between RD, cognitive abilities and length of service period were examined. The aim was to study the manifestation of reading difficulties with young adult males, the connection between different cognitive abilities and reading comprehension and decoding skills, and to determine whether the membership of different reading skills groups was related to the length of the service period, which is partly dependent on the scores of cognitive assessment in military service, Basic Test 1. The participants in this study (N=1399) were Finnish adolescents (mean age 20 years, sd .61) participating in compulsory military service. Every Finnish male citizen is obligated to undergo military service and because RD is more common in males than females, warfare becomes more technological and military training is increasingly based on written material that requires reading skills, it is very reasonable to study RD with persons in military service. Results showed that reading difficulties persist into adulthood, but some regional differences were found, and reading difficulties (especially decoding difficulties) had only a minor direct connection to the length of the service period.

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