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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 Feb;40(2):197-205.

School refusal in children and adolescents: a review of the past 10 years.

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Faculty of Education, Monash University, Victoria, Australia. neville.king@education



To critically review the past 10 years of research on school refusal in children and adolescents.


Literature on school refusal published from 1990 onward was reviewed following a systematic search of PsycINFO. The review focuses on definitional issues, epidemiology and school refusal identification, diagnostic considerations, family functioning, assessment, treatment, and follow-up studies.


While definitional and conceptual issues are still evident, promising developments have occurred in relation to assessment and treatment practices and understanding of the family context of school refusal.


From a clinical viewpoint, school refusal cases require comprehensive assessment and treatment. Advances have been made in the treatment of school refusal. However, additional controlled studies evaluating interventions for school refusal are needed.

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