chapter  5
18 Pages

School Refusal Behavior

The advent of child psychology partially resulted from a melding of education and psychology in the early 20th century to address youth with school-related problems. One such problem that has received substantial attention since that time is absenteeism from school. Problematic absenteeism was originally considered a legal problem because attendance was mandatory, and the term truant popularly described youth who missed school without proper excuse (Broadwin, 1932). Such truancy was linked to many delinquent behaviors, and the term later became synonymous with surreptitious absenteeism without knowledge of the parents (Berg et al., 1985). Even today, truancy is primarily a legal term and one that is part of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).