Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety
The Department of Education (2016) identified absenteeism as an educational crisis, as 6 million youth missed 15 days of school or more in the 2013-2014 academic year. Previous research has evidenced youth belonging to ethnic minority groups are more likely to have poorer academic outcomes, exhibit problematic absenteeism, and drop-out of school more often compared to their majority peers (Aud et al., 2010; U.S. Department of Education, 2016). The present study utilized the Family Environment Scale (FES; Moos & Moos, 2009) and the School Refusal Assessment Scale-Revised-Child (SRAS-R-C; Kearney, 2006) to determine protective family factors against the school refusal behavior of minority youth. Youth (N=131) between the ages of 11-19 years (M = 15.1) were included in this study. Participants were Hispanic (74.8%), African American (9.9%), Other (5.3%), Multiracial/biracial (4.6%), Asian (3.8%), and Caucasian (1.5%). Many, 45.5% (N = 60), participants were Spanish speaking. Correlation and ANOVA analyses revealed there was a significant main effect of language spoken on achievement orientation scores on the FES. In turn, higher achievement orientation scores on the FES were correlated with lower school refusal perceived tangible rewards (PTR) scores on the SRAS-R-C. Analyses also revealed there was a significant main effect of ethnic identity on expressiveness scores on the FES. In turn, higher expressiveness scores were correlated with lower school refusal escape from aversive social and/or evaluative situations (ESE) scores on the SRAS-R-C. Indicating, (1) youth and their families who speak English tend to value an achievement or competitive framework which becomes a protective factor against youth refusing school to gain a reward outside of school and (2) youth and their families, specifically African Americans, who value directly expressing one’s feelings becomes a protective factor against youth refusing school to escape from aversive social and/or evaluative situations. Results have important implications for the prevention of specific functions of school refusal, particularly in minority youth.
Mirae Fornander– University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Amanda Howard– University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Andrew Gerthoffer– University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Kyleigh K. Skedgell– University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Christopher A. Kearney– University of Nevada, Las Vegas