Skip to main content
Log in

School-related Risk and Protective Factors Associated with Truancy among Urban Youth Placed at Risk

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
The Journal of Primary Prevention Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Truancy is a serious concern in the United States. Its negative effects are so pervasive that in 2003 the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention named truancy prevention a national priority. Effective prevention of truancy requires a thorough understanding of the characteristics that describe truant youth as well as factors that may put them at risk for truancy. Unfortunately, surprisingly little is known about the correlates and/or causes of truancy. In this paper we explore associations between truancy and several salient school-related risk and protective factors among a sample of youth who grew up in socially disorganized neighborhoods of Denver, CO. We demonstrate that several school-related risk and protective factors are associated with truancy. Perhaps most importantly, we identify that the two most robust predictors are school performance and involvement with delinquent peers, and that these two variables form a synergistic relationship in which the relationship between delinquent peer association and truancy is mitigated among students who perform well in school. Editors’ Strategic Implications: The authors use data from a large probability sample drawn from neighborhoods with high crime rates to identify key correlates of truancy. They also draw attention to the dearth of efficacious truancy prevention efforts in spite of the magnitude of the problem.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Baker, M. L., Sigmon, J. N., & Nugent, E. M. (2001). Truancy reduction: Keeping students in school. [Bulletin]. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bell, A. J., Rosen, L. A., & Dynlacht, D. (1994). Truancy intervention. The Journal of Research and Development in Education, 57(3), 203–211.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. (1998). The ecology of developmental processes. In W. Damon (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 1. Theoretical models of human development (5th ed., pp. 993–1028). New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Catalano, F. R., Arthur, M. W., Hawkins, J. D., Berglund, L., & Olson, J. J. (1998). Comprehensive community- and school-based interventions to prevent antisocial behavior. In R. Loeber, & D. Farrington (Eds.), Serious and violent juvenile offenders: Risk factors and successful interventions (pp. 248–283). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Corsaro, W. A., & Eder, D. (1990). Children’s peer cultures. Annual Review of Sociology, 16, 197–220.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dryfoos, J. G. (1990). Adolescents at risk: Prevalence and prevention. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Elliott, D. S., & Menard, S. (1996). Delinquent friends and delinquent behavior: Temporal and developmental patterns. In J. D. Hawkins (Ed.), Delinquency and crime: Current theories (pp. 28–67). New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ennett, S., & Baumann, K. (1993). Peer group structure and adolescent cigarette smoking: A social network analysis. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 34, 226–236.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Fantuzzo, J., Grim, S., & Hazan, H. (2005). Project Start: An evaluation of a community-wide school-based intervention to reduce truancy. Psychology in the Schools, 42(6), 657–667.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garry, E. M. (1996). Truancy: First step to a lifetime of problems [Bulletin]. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gottfredson, D. C. (2001). Schools and delinquency. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gottfredson, G. D., Gottfredson, D. C., Payne, A. A., & Gottfredson, N. C. (2005). School climate predictors of school disorder: Results from a national study of delinquency prevention in schools. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 42(4), 412–444.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Miller, J. Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 64–105.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hawkins, J. D., & Weis, J. G. (1985). The social development model: An integrated approach to delinquency prevention. Journal of Primary Prevention, 6, 73–97.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Henry, K. L. (2007). Who’s skipping school: Characteristics of truants in 8th and 10th grade. Journal of School Health, 77(1), 29–35.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Henry, K. L., & Huizinga, D. H. (2007). Truancy’s effect on the onset of drug use among urban adolescents placed at risk. Journal of Adolescent Health, 40(4), e9–e17.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hibbert, A., & Fogelman, K. (1990). Future lives of truants: Family formation and health-related behavior. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 60, 171–179.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hirschi, T. (1969). Causes of delinquency. Oxford: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Huizinga, D. H., Loeber, R., & Thornberry, T. P. (1995). Urban delinquency and substance abuse: Initial findings [Summary]. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnston, L. D., Bachman, J. G., O’Malley, P. M., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2004). Monitoring the future: A continuing study of American youth. 2003 [Data file]. Available from Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research [ICPSR] Web site, http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/access/index.html

  • Kaplan, D. S., Peck, B. M., & Kaplan, H. B. (1994). Structural relations model of self-rejection, disposition to deviance, and academic failure. Journal of Educational Research, 87, 166–173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keenan, K., Loeber, R., Zhang, Q., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., & Van Kammen, W. B. (1995). The influence of deviant peers on the development of boys’ disruptive and delinquent behavior: A temporal analysis. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 715–726.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krohn, M. D., & Thornberry, T. P. (2001). The development of delinquency: An interactional perspective. In S. O. White (Ed.), Handbook of law and social science: Youth and justice (pp. 289–305). New York: Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maguin, E., & Loeber, R. (1995). Academic performance and delinquency. In M. Tonry (Ed.), Crime and justice: Vol. 20. An annual review of research (pp. 145–264). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • McAra, L. (2003). Truancy, school exclusion and substance misuse: The Edinburgh study of youth transitions and crime [Report No. 4]. Retrieved May 23, 2007 from http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/cls/esytc/findings/digest4.pdf

  • Miller, P., & Plant, M. (1999). Truancy and perceived school performance: An alcohol and drug study of UK teenagers. Alcohol & Alcoholism, 34, 886–893.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Muijs, D., Harris, A., Chapman, C., Stoll, L., & Russ, J. (2004). Improving schools in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas: A review of research evidence. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 15(2), 149–175.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muthén, L. K., & Muthén B. O. (2006). Mplus user’s guide (4th ed.). Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.

    Google Scholar 

  • National Center for Education Statistics. (1996). The condition of education: 1996 (Report No. NCES 96–304). Rockville, MD: United States Department of Education.

  • National Center for School Engagement. (2006). Truancy in Denver: Prevalence, effects, and interventions. Denver: National Truancy Prevention Association.

    Google Scholar 

  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2003). OJJDP Priorities for 2003. Retrieved on March 17, 2006 from http://www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/news_at_glance/2003_2/jj_priorities.html

  • Reid, K. (1984). Some social, psychological, and educational aspects related to school absenteeism. Research in Education, 31, 63–82.

    Google Scholar 

  • Robins, L. N., & Ratcliff, K. S. (1978). Long-range outcomes associated with school truancy. Washington, D.C.: Public Health Service.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rohrman, D. (1993). Combating truancy in our schools: A community effort. NASSP Bulletin, 76(549), 40–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Snyder, H. N., & Sickmund, M. (1995). Juvenile offenders and victims: A focus on violence. [Report]. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

  • Wehlage, M., Fyfe, J., Campbell, S., & Goldkamp, J. (1986). Dropping out: How much do schools contribute to the problem? Teachers College Record, 87, 374–392.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilder Research Center. (2003). Effective truancy prevention and intervention: A review of relevant research for the Hennepin County School Success Project. St. Paul, MN: Amherst H Wilder Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by grant K01 DA017810-01A1 (P.I. Kimberly L. Henry) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and grant 96-MU-FX-0017 (P.I. David Huizinga) from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent official positions or policies of the National Institute of Drug Abuse or the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kimberly L. Henry.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Henry, K.L., Huizinga, D.H. School-related Risk and Protective Factors Associated with Truancy among Urban Youth Placed at Risk. J Primary Prevent 28, 505–519 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-007-0115-7

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-007-0115-7

Keywords

Navigation