Study reveals potential reasons for school absenteeism

Jul 11, 2008

A questionnaire of Swiss schoolchildren has revealed the extent of truancy and school fear. The research, published in BioMed Central's open access journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, links truancy and school fear to life events, parental behaviour and school environment.

Over 800 children completed the questionnaire, once at thirteen years old and then again at sixteen years old. They were asked to rate themselves on whether they are scared of school, and whether they ever play truant. Hans-Christoph Steinhausen led the research team from the University of Zurich.

He explained, "Our study not only allows the assessment of the frequency of fear and truancy but also allows a clinically meaningful differentiation of these two forms of absenteeism by behavioural and psychosocial characteristics".

'School fear' is defined as difficulty attending school associated with emotional distress, especially anxiety and depression. This new study reveals that 6.9% of the pupils experienced school fear at thirteen years old while 3.6% reported it three years later. It was significantly more common in girls than boys.

Unlike 'school fear', rates of truancy significantly increased as pupils got older. When they were thirteen, only 4.9% admitted to skipping school. When questioned again at 16, 18.5% reported that they had played truant.

According to Steinhausen, there are many differences between pupils with school fear and truants, "At age sixteen, kids with school fear showed less self esteem and perceived more competition amongst students than the truants. At age thirteen the students with school fear felt less accepted by their peers than the children who played truant".

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Experts call for higher exam pass marks to close performance gap between international and UK medical graduates

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

1 in 4 parents believes vaccine-autism link

Mar 01, 2010

(AP) -- One in four U.S. parents believes some vaccines cause autism in healthy children, but even many of those worried about vaccine risks think their children should be vaccinated.

HPV vaccine makes girls more cautious about sex

Oct 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nearly 80% of girls say that having the HPV vaccine makes them think twice about the risks of having sex, according to a University of Manchester study published in the British Journal of ...

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

Apr 16, 2014

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.