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School Phobia and School Refusal

Contributing Factors

Christopher A. Kearney and Wendy Silverman (1993) suggested that SRB may be maintained by at least one of the following functions or motivating conditions: (1) avoidance of objects or situations provoking specific fearfulness or generalized anxiety; (2) escape from aversive social or evaluative situations; (3) attention-getting behavior (analogous to traditional externalizing symptoms of separation anxiety, such as tantrums); and (4) positive tangible reinforcement (analogous to truant behavior, or preferring to stay home and play or avoiding school for reasons other than fear or anxiety). The first two refer to school refusal behavior maintained by negative reinforcement; the latter two refer to school refusal behavior maintained by positive reinforcement.

Distal factors also may spur SRB. Such factors include homelessness, maltreatment, school victimization, teenage pregnancy, divorce, and child self-care (Kearney 2000). Kearney, for example, indicated that homelessness in youth has been linked to educational problems such as school dropout, severe absenteeism, expulsion, higher risk of school failure, and poor achievement in reading and arithmetic.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaPregnancy & ParenthoodSchool Phobia and School Refusal - Clinical Picture, Contributing Factors, Culture/ethnicity And Race, Family Factors, Psychosocial Interventions - Age and Gender