Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Adolescence

pp 2489-2493

Date:

School Refusal Behavior and Absenteeism

  • Christopher A. KearneyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Email author 
  • , Courtney HaightAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • , Marisa GaugerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • , Rachel SchaferAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Overview

School absenteeism has grown nationally and internationally as a serious issue that affects the long-term functioning of adolescents. Researchers have grappled with the problem of school absenteeism for decades and, while much knowledge has been gained, a great disparity exists across professional fields. School absenteeism and school refusal behavior are associated with myriad behavior problems and contextual variables, though some researchers have developed effective clinical and systemic intervention strategies. A summary of key findings and issues in this area is presented in this essay.

Understanding Key Concepts and Definitions

Problematic absenteeism refers to unexcused absences from school leading to detrimental effects for a youth. Problematic school absenteeism has no consensual definition, but a recently proposed one involves school-aged youths who (1) have missed at least 25% of total school time for at least 2 weeks, ...

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