Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 82, Issue 3, pp 191–206 | Cite as

Psychiatric Correlates of Behavioral Indicators of School Disengagement in the United States

  • Michael G. VaughnEmail author
  • Jade Wexler
  • Kevin M. Beaver
  • Brian E. Perron
  • Gregory Roberts
  • Qiang Fu
Original Paper


The current study examined relations between behavioral indicators of school disengagement and psychiatric disorders. Data was derived from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults (N = 43,093). Indicators of school disengagement and diagnoses of personality, substance use, mood, and anxiety disorders were assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-IV-version. Findings from multinomial logistic regression analyses revealed that cumulative school disengagement is associated with increased odds of reporting a lifetime psychiatric disorder and general antisociality. Behavioral indicators of school disengagement such as absenteeism and cutting class are potentially important signs of psychiatric distress and conduct problems. In addition to attending to academic achievement outcomes school disengagement prevention strategies should consider targeting these psychiatric conditions in order to reduce school dropout.


School dropout School disengagement Mental health Comorbidity Antisocial behavior 



NESARC was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism with additional support provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors are grateful for support from NIH grants: DA021405 and K07CA104119 and partial support from the Greater Texas Foundation and the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas at Austin. The contents of the article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael G. Vaughn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jade Wexler
    • 2
  • Kevin M. Beaver
    • 3
  • Brian E. Perron
    • 4
  • Gregory Roberts
    • 2
  • Qiang Fu
    • 5
  1. 1.Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Meadows Center for Preventing Educational RiskUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.College of Criminology and Criminal JusticeFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  4. 4.School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.Division of Biostatistics, School of Public HealthSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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