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Am J Public Health. 2014 Sep;104(9):e47-54. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301977. Epub 2014 Jul 17.

Assessing the connection between health and education: identifying potential leverage points for public health to improve school attendance.

Author information

1
Lauren N. Gase is with the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of California, Los Angeles. Tony Kuo is with the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and the Department of Family Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. Karen Coller, Lourdes R. Guerrero, and Mitchell D. Wong are with the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We examined multiple variables influencing school truancy to identify potential leverage points to improve school attendance.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional observational design was used to analyze inner-city data collected in Los Angeles County, California, during 2010 to 2011. We constructed an ordinal logistic regression model with cluster robust standard errors to examine the association between truancy and various covariates.

RESULTS:

The sample was predominantly Hispanic (84.3%). Multivariable analysis revealed greater truancy among students (1) with mild (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.57; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.22, 2.01) and severe (AOR = 1.80; 95% CI = 1.04, 3.13) depression (referent: no depression), (2) whose parents were neglectful (AOR = 2.21; 95% CI = 1.21, 4.03) or indulgent (AOR = 1.71; 95% CI = 1.04, 2.82; referent: authoritative parents), (3) who perceived less support from classes, teachers, and other students regarding college preparation (AOR = 0.87; 95% CI = 0.81, 0.95), (4) who had low grade point averages (AOR = 2.34; 95% CI = 1.49, 4.38), and (5) who reported using alcohol (AOR = 3.47; 95% CI = 2.34, 5.14) or marijuana (AOR = 1.59; 95% CI = 1.06, 2.38) during the past month.

CONCLUSIONS:

Study findings suggest depression, substance use, and parental engagement as potential leverage points for public health to intervene to improve school attendance.

PMID:
25033134
PMCID:
PMC4143243
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2014.301977
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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