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Child Dev. 2012 Jan-Feb;83(1):351-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01677.x. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

School attendance problems and youth psychopathology: structural cross-lagged regression models in three longitudinal data sets.

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UCLA-GSEIS, Moore Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


This study tests a model of reciprocal influences between absenteeism and youth psychopathology using 3 longitudinal datasets (Ns = 20,745, 2,311, and 671). Participants in 1st through 12th grades were interviewed annually or biannually. Measures of psychopathology include self-, parent-, and teacher-report questionnaires. Structural cross-lagged regression models were tested. In a nationally representative data set (Add Health), middle school students with relatively greater absenteeism at Study Year 1 tended toward increased depression and conduct problems in Study Year 2, over and above the effects of autoregressive associations and demographic covariates. The opposite direction of effects was found for both middle and high school students. Analyses with 2 regionally representative data sets were also partially supportive. Longitudinal links were more evident in adolescence than in childhood.

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