Being Excluded or Truant From School Leads to Mental Health Problems—and Vice Versa

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

New research examines whether mental health leads to exclusion and truancy, or whether exclusion and truancy are in fact contributing to poor mental health in children and adolescents.

The study found that the connection goes both ways. Children who struggled with their mental health were more likely to later be excluded from school and to truant. And it found evidence that exclusion and truancy could increase their mental health difficulties.

Missing out on school is detrimental not only to children’s educational achievement but also to their well-being and overall development. These children miss out on important formative interactions with their peers and teachers.

Being excluded from school can have a long-term—even life-long—impact. Research suggests that children who have been excluded are more likely to be unemployed and to go to prison, as well as to have mental health difficulties.

The study used nationally representative data from more than 15,000 children born in the UK between 2000 and 2002. The survey collected extensive information on participants during their childhood and teenage years, including information on behavioral problems, such as aggressive behavior, and emotional problems involving symptoms of anxiety and depression. It also included information on children’s experience of school exclusion and truancy.

The results revealed that mental health difficulties in primary school left children more vulnerable to exclusion and truancy later when entering secondary school. More specifically, increases in emotional problems heightened a child’s chances of being excluded in their early adolescent years, and their chances of being truant from school.

The study also discovered that truancy and exclusion may in turn be exacerbating mental health problems. It showed that some of the detrimental effects differed according to the child’s gender. And while some affected mental health only in the short-term, others had a longer lasting impact.

The study was published in Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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