Truancy has been a persistent problem in the United States for more than 100 years. Although truancy is commonly reported as a risk factor for substance use, delinquency, dropout, and a host of other negative outcomes for youth, there has been surprisingly little empirical investigation into understanding the causes and correlates of truancy using large, nationally representative samples. Using the adolescent sample (N=17,482) of the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), this study presents the prevalence of truancy and examines individual, school engagement, parental, and behavioral correlates of truancy. Overall, 11% of adolescents between the ages of 12-17 reported skipping school in the past 30 days. Results from multinomial logistic regression models indicate skipping school was robustly associated with an increased probability of reporting externalizing behaviors, less parental involvement, and engagement and lower grades in school. Implications for theory, prevention, and policy are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful for support from the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk , the Greater Texas Foundation , the Institute on Educational Sciences grants ( R324A100022 & R324B080008 ) and from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development ( P50HD052117 ). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health