Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Maria Brown, M.S.W.

Second Advisor

Francine Chakolis, M.S.W.

Third Advisor

Mark May, M.S.W.


Truancy is defined as the act of being absent from school without permission. The problem of inconsistent school attendance is often the first sign of trouble with students. Studies show a strong link between truancy, dropping out of school, and delinquent behavior. Excessive unexcused absences are present in varying degrees in all schools and across the country. Truancy is a complex problem that involves the student, the family, the school, and the community. The problem continues to increase year after year.

In this study, 50 subjects aged 12-15 are described using two different measures. Parent-completed intake forms provide information on the variables of age, gender, race, family size, family income, chemical use, discipline problems, peer pressure, moves and separation or divorce of parents. The second measure examines the opinions and perceptions of key informants to these and other variables impacting school attendance. The findings are also compared with a previously done study (Roller, 1996) in an adjacent county representing a different cultural and socioeconomic profile.

The findings from the parent-completed intake forms suggested a larger than expected percentage of peer pressure influencing truancy and of minorities exhibiting this behavior. Linking gender to depression and chemical use produced results that differed from research expectations. Key informants identified chemical use as the primary factor associated with truancy followed by parent's ability to discipline and peer pressure. In the comparison study (Roller, 1996), key informants identified parent's ability to discipline as the primary factor associated with truancy followed by chemical use and school discipline problems.


SC 11.MSW.1998.Merritt.R

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