Why adolescents do not attend school. The views of students and parents

Lorraine V. Klerman, Michael Weitzman, Joel J. Alpert, George A. Lamb, Herbert Kayne, Karen Roth Gerominini, Lynda Rose, Linda Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the magnitude and importance of the problem, little is known about why many students are absent from school. This study assessed what a sample of excessively absent students and their parents believed were the reasons for the students' absences. In response to an openended question about their main reason for absence, almost half of the students reported a health-related reason. When asked whether any of 15 potential problems contributed to their absence, many reported common and acute physical illnesses, headaches or stomachaches, and other aches or pains. Half mentioned factors relating to low motivation or a concern about the school environment. The parents' responses were remarkably similar except they were more likely to cite emotional problems of the student, school violence, and racial problems. When individual student's responses were compared with those of his or her parents, agreement on individual items were little better than would be expected by chance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-430
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1987


  • Absence
  • Motivation for school
  • Parents' perceptions
  • School health
  • Self-reported problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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