Truancy is defined as unexcused absences from school without parents' knowledge. Causes of truancy may include social (e.g., peer pressure), family (e.g., low parental involvement, discord, abusive or neglectful environment), and individual factors (e.g., low IQ, drug or alcohol use, psychological disorder). As such, frequent truancy may signal other difficulties in a child's life. Chronic truancy has been associated with delinquency (e.g., daytime burglary, vandalism, running away, lying), poor academic performance, and dropout rates. It may be predictive of criminal behavior in adulthood among children who also engage in other forms of delinquent behavior and have a history of conduct problems from an early age. Truancy should be distinguished from school refusal, which is defined as staying home from school with parents' knowledge due to emotional distress about attending. Whereas truancy is commonly associated with antisocial behavior, school refusal has been linked to anxiety disorders.
See also: DELINQUENCY
"Manual to Combat Truancy." Prepared by the U.S. Department of Education (July 1996). Available from http://www.ed.gov/pubs/Truancy/; INTERNET.
Pamela L. Schippell