What are the negative health impacts of student absenteeism?

February 1, 2019

The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health. The American Academy of Pediatrics just released a policy statement regarding the negative impact that chronic student absenteeism has on children’s health.  They cite numerous ways the two are linked.  First, evidence clearly documents that chronic absenteeism puts children at a much higher risk of dropping out of school and not graduating. There is a significant amount of research associating poor school performance (resulting in lower education attainment) and poor adult health outcomes, including increased mortality risk and lower life expectancy.  The act of missing school itself is also linked to increased risk behaviors, including alcohol consumption, drug use, smoking and risky sexual behavior.  Also, children with chronic absenteeism are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested or referred to the juvenile justice system.  The policy statement finishes with a discussion of roles the medical community can play working with schools and families to help address this problem.  It reviews the evidence regarding possible physical and mental health interventions, including:  infection prevention programs, school nurses, school-based health centers, mental health care, health awareness school policies and programs, parent interventions, and coordinated school health models.

Citation: Allison, M. A., & Attisha, E. (2019). The Link Between School Attendance and Good Health. Pediatrics, e20183648.