HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE: ITS RELATION TO ALIENATION AND SELF-ESTEEM
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Although educators have grown increasingly concerned about "skyrocketing" school absenteeism, particularly whole-day and class-period truancy, few studies have examined the psychological concomitants of the problem, and fewer still have conceptually differentiated between the various types of absenteeism.;The study reviewed the literature on school absenteeism, alienation, and adolescent developmental theory. The study explored psychological, educational, and demographic variables related to four distinct types of attendance patterns (i.e. regular attender, excused absentee, whole-day truant, and class-period truant). These variables included school alienation (as measured by the Pupil Attitude Questionnaire), self-esteem (as measured by the Piers-Harris), semester grade average, and extracurricular activities participation. The subjects were 241 ninth and tenth grade students attending a four year public high school in central New Jersey. Analyses of variance were used to test the hypotheses that whole-day and class-period truants would score significantly lower in self-esteem, semester grade average, extra-curricular activities participation, as well as score significantly higher in school alienation, than regular attenders and excused absentees.;The results showed that both whole-day truants and class-period truants were significantly lower in semester grade average and extra-curricular activities participation than either regular attenders or excused absentees. In addition, whole-day truants tested significantly higher in school alienation than regular attenders and excused absentees, while class-period truants did not. No significant group differences were obtained in relation to self-esteem, and no significant differences between whole-day truants and class-period truants were obtained on any of the variables studied.;The implication of the results on possible programs of prevention was discussed, and directions for future research, outlined.