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Fear-based Absenteeism From School Linked To Parental Behavior And School Environment

Date:
July 10, 2008
Source:
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Summary:
A questionnaire of Swiss schoolchildren has revealed the extent of truancy and school fear. The research links truancy and school fear to life events, parental behavior and school environment.

A questionnaire of Swiss schoolchildren has revealed the extent of truancy and school fear. The research 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".


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hans Christoph Steinhausen, Nora Mueller and Christa Winkler Metzke. Frequency, Stability and Differentiation of Self-Reported School Refusal and Truancy in a Community Sample. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health,

Cite This Page:

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. "Fear-based Absenteeism From School Linked To Parental Behavior And School Environment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710194107.htm>.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. (2008, July 10). Fear-based Absenteeism From School Linked To Parental Behavior And School Environment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710194107.htm
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. "Fear-based Absenteeism From School Linked To Parental Behavior And School Environment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710194107.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

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