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School Phobia and School Refusal

Culture/ethnicity And Race

According to the U.S. National Center of Education Statistics, 5.5 percent of students are absent from school on a typical school day. However, only a small number of studies have examined cultural/ethnic or race variations in SRB. Elena Granell de Aldaz and her colleagues (1984) examined the prevalence of school refusal and school-related fears in 1,034 Venezuelan children (ages three to fourteen years). Results indicated that children were generally afraid of test failure (35%), poor grades (33.4%), visiting the principal (29.7%), tests (18.4%), going to the blackboard (13.5%), talking to agroup or class (13.4%), being called on unexpectedly in class (12.5%), becoming ill at school (11.2%), and waiting to be picked up at school (11.0%). In a subsequent study Granell de Aldaz and her colleagues (1987) further classified fifty-seven Venezuelan school-refusing children (ages three to fourteen years) based on presenting problems (i.e., adaptation problems [49.1%], phobia [42.1%], and emotional problems [8.8%]). Among these children, common but different fears emerged, including fear of the teacher (43.9%), other children (21.1%), and separation from parents (21.1%). Angelica Hibbet and Ken Fogelman (1990) found that 19.4 percent of sixteen-year-old adolescents in Great Britain displayed regular unexcused absences.

Although there is evidence that school dropout rates are substantially higher among Hispanic (29.4%) than African-American (13.0%) or white students (7.3%) (see www.nces.ed.gov for recent updates), some studies have shown that absence from school is higher among African-American students and those students with lower family income (Berg et al. 1993). It is not clear however whether minorities and socioeconomic status were well represented in these studies.

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