People who read regularly for pleasure have greater levels of self-esteem, are less stressed, and can cope better with difficult situations than lapsed or non-readers, new research for Galaxy Quick Reads has found.
While the research, carried out by Dr Josie Billington at the University of Liverpool, found that 58% of people read regularly, it found that 16m adults in the UK – almost a third of the UK adult population – are lapsed readers, who used to read but either rarely read now or don’t read at all.
The research’s release on 5th February coincided with the released of the 2015 Galaxy Quick Reads’ titles - Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle, Paris for (Two) One by Jojo Moyes, Red for Revenge by Fanny Blake, Pictures or it Didn’t Happen by Sophie Hannah, Out of the Dark by Adele Geras, and Street Cat Bob by James Bowen today (5th February).
Cathy Rentzenbrink, director of Quick Reads, said: “I have always found reading to be a great source of comfort and this research confirms what I have long witnessed professionally: reading can help any one of us to be healthier, happier and ultimately to get more out of life.”
The research found that people who read for 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction than those who do not, while readers are 21% less likely to report feelings of depression and are 10% more likely to report good self-esteem than non-readers.
Lapsed readers said that barriers to reading again included lack of time and of enjoyment. The research found that 2.2m people in the UK who used to read now rarely or never pick up a book because of a difficult event in their lives, such as ill health, death or getting divorced and that 1.2m adults have stopped reading as a result of some form of depression.
Billington said: “Whilst the cumulative societal benefits of reading have been widely acknowledged, it’s important also to recognise the gains to be had from reading on our personal health and wellbeing.”
The 2015 Quick Reads' titles were launched at a party last night (4th February) at the House of Commons, hosted by MP Fiona Mactaggart. Speaking at the party, she said that while she was concerned about childhood illiteracy, "the thing that is most disturbing is the number of adults whose ability to read doesn't go above decoding".
"The way to move people from decoders to readers is to give them things that they enjoy reading, and that's what we're here to celebrate today," she added.
Authors Hannah and Andy McNab, who has previously written a Quick Reads' title, also spoke at the event.
The research surveyed 4,164 people online, with the results statistically weighted according to data on age, gender, region and education from the latest UK census, to ensure the sample is representative of the UK adult population.