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A major problem faced by schools across the country is student absenteeism. Although the problem is pervasive in American schools, the attention focused on this issue has been inadequate. Poor student attendance has far reaching effects on the individual, the school, and society in general. The intent of this paper is to document the problem, summarize existing research on mediating factors, provide a summary of interventions for improving student attendance rates in schools, and to offer
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  A major problem faced by schools across the country is student absenteeism. Although the problem is pervasive in American schools, the attention focused on this issue has been inadequate. Poor student attendance has far reaching eects onthe individual, the school, and society in general. The intent of this paper is to document the problem, summarize existing research on mediating factors, provide a summary of interventions for improving student attendance rates in schools, and to oer specic suggestions for school psychologists. !n addition, specic attention is given to suggestions for future research to help expand the current understandingof the causes and remediation of poor student attendance. Predictors of absenteeism and truancy can be found inside and outside of the school environment. imler and #ir$land %&''() indicated that there may be as many as ('dierent *hot spots* that can predict student absenteeism and truancy. These *hot spots* broadly include+ school conditions home-based behavioral issues psychological issues family bac$ground school-based behavioral issues peer issues as ell as lac$ of motivation or interest in school. These issues align ith more recent revies of literature regarding student absenteeism, truancy, and school avoidance behavior %#earney, &''/). As #earney*s %&''/) comprehensive revie of literature related to school absenteeism and school refusal behavior suggests absenteeism can be lin$ed to physical conditions, psychiatric conditions, classication and proximal variables, contextual ris$ factors, as ell as cross-cultural variables. 0ach of these variables has been shon to in1uence student attendance. The literature related to predictors of chronic absenteeism and truancy has been grouped into four broad categories in this revie. 2irst, research regarding student predictors of attendance is presented. This discussion re1ects the most developed research base and broadly explains the individual characteristics that  in1uence student attendance. 3ext, parent and family predictors are revieed.  These factors have received increased attention in recent years but continue to be an area here more research is needed. 4chool-level predictors are discussed next.  The discussion of school-level factors includes structural, cultural, and social conditions in the school. These factors also relate to the physical condition of the school. 2inally, community predictors are discussed. 5ommunity-level predictors have only recently received attention from researchers and are thus an area of research that requires further elaboration. !ndividual Predictors of 4tudent Attendance 6esearchers have focused extensively on student-level predictors related to chronic absenteeism and truancy. Predictors at the student-level relate to the student*s physical and mental health perceptions of school as ell as the availability of family and community resources. These predictors oer the most direct lin$ to student attendance hereas other predictors that ill be discussed areoften mediated. 4tudent predictors broadly include the student*s physical and mental health as ell as their perceptions of school. Physical health !ssues related to the student*s physical and mental health appears directly related to student attendance %#earney, &''/). 5hronic health conditions are among the most signicant predictors of student absenteeism. This revie found that asthma is one of the leading predictors for student absenteeism %5enter for 7isease 5ontrol, &''8#earney, &''/). The 5enter for 7isease 5ontrol estimates that 8.(9 of children under (: years of age have been diagnosed ith asthma %A$inbami, ;oorman, <arbe, 4ondi$, &''8). The 575 estimates that nearly (=.: million school days ere missed in &''& because of asthma-related illness %;eng, abey, > ?olstein, &'(&). 6esearchers estimate that students ith asthma miss beteen (.@ and .' times more school days than their peers ithout the condition % onilla, et al., &''@ 7ey >  loom, &''@ ;oonie, 4terling, 2iggs, > 5astro, &''B). According to #earney %&''/), absenteeism related to asthma can be exacerbated by numerous factors, including age, poverty, medical care, as ell as the student*s living environment. 6esearch suggests that other health issues in1uence student attendance, as ell. 2or example, obesity, chronic illness, and chronic pain all appear to signicantly predict higher levels of student absenteeism %Palermo, &''' 4ato, et al., &'':). <eier and colleagues %&'':) studied (,'B8 fourth and sixth graders attending nine elementaryschools in Philadelphia and found that students ho had a higher than normal ody-;ass-!ndex % ;!) ere more li$ely to miss school than students hose ;! as ithin normal range. They concluded that obesity as thus a signicant predictor of student absenteeism after adjusting for the student*s age, race or ethnicity, and gender. Taras and Potts-7atema %&''@) revieed literature related to chronic health conditions in children and disclosed that the literature associates student attendance ith diabetes, sic$le cell anemia, epilepsy, among other chronic illnesses. This research builds on related or$ suggesting that other chronic conditions have also been attributed to increased student absenteeism, including migraines, abdominal pain, musculos$eletal pain, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis %5han, Piira, > etters, &''@). 6oth-!sig$eit and colleagues %&''@) conducted a large-scale study of children ho experienced chronic pain. They concluded that C'to =' percent of children and adolescents ith pain reported moderate eects of their pain on school attendanceC %p. (@). !n addition, researchers have found that teen pregnancy %#irby, &''&) and drugDalcohol use %6oebuc$, 2rench, > 7ennis, &''=) are also signicant predictors of student absenteeism. 7raing upon survey data from the (88: and (88/ 3ational Eousehold 4urveys on 7rug Abuse, 6oebuc$, 2rench, and 7ennis %&''=) found that among (@,(B/ adolescents age (& to (/,  marijuana use as strongly associated ith truancy and increased li$elihood of highschool dropout. ;ental health conditions ;ental health conditions have also been attributed to student attendance. 6esearchers suggest that mental health conditions often manifest themselves in the form of school refusal or school avoidance behaviors %0gger, 5ostello, > Angold, &'' #ing > ernstein, &''(). 0gger, 5ostello, and Angold %&'') examined the association beteen mental health conditions %e.g., anxiety, oppositional deant disorder, etc.) and both school refusal and truancy. They found that school refusal as typically associated ith depression and separation anxiety. Truancy tended to be associated ith oppositional deant disorder and conduct disorder. !n children ho exhibited a combination of school refusal and truancy, //.& percent of the =,@'' school aged children included in the study had a specic psychiatric disorder. A smaller study conducted by #earney and Albano %&''=), found that among (= youths the most common psychiatric conditions associated ith school refusal ere separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, oppositional deant disorder, and depression. The ndings obtained by #earney and Albano mirror those obtained in asmaller study conducted ;c4hane, ?alter, and 6ey %&''(). As #earney %&''/) noted, there is Cremar$able consistency ith respect to the type of diagnosis most commonly seen in youths ith problematic absenteeism, hich essentially involves depression, anxiety, and disruptive behavior disorderC %p. =@:). ?hile underlying mental health conditions contribute to school avoidance or refusal behaviors, #earney %&''/) suggested that these conditions are often overloo$ed. !t may also be due to a lac$ of diagnosis for many psychiatric conditions believed to be in1uencers or causes of the avoidance behavior, including depression, separation anxiety, oppositional deant disorder, conduct disorder, and substance abuse %#ing,
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