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[School absenteeism in Germany: prevalence of excused and unexcused absenteeism and its correlation with emotional and behavioural problems].

[Article in German]

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Klinik für Kinder und Jugendpsychiatrie, Zentrum für Psychosoziale Medizin, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg.


Data about the prevalence of school absenteeism and its correlation with emotional and behavioural problems in Germany is scarce, in particular regarding excused absenteeism. This study aims to close the gap by examining a sample of 2,679 pupils attending the different types of secondary school (Hauptschule, Realschule, Gymnasium), who participated in a clinical trial for the prevention of truancy (WE-STAY-Project). Pupils' mean age was 14 years (M = 13.94, SD = 0.85, Range = 11-19) and gender distribution was balanced (49.35% males, 50.65% females). Using a self-report questionnaire, pupils where asked on how many days they had missed school on average per month during the last school year (excused and unexcused). Emotional and behavioural problems were measured by using the "Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire" (SDQ). 4.1% of the pupils reported to have missed school without a valid excuse on more than four days per month (unexcused absenteeism). 6.1% had missed school having an excuse on more than ten days per month (excused absenteeism). Both, unexcused and excused absenteeism, showed an increase of emotional and behavioural problems dependent on the intensity of absenteeism. In conclusion, these findings show the relevance of school absenteeism in Germany. In the future, more attention should be given to pupils with also excused absenteeism.

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