Teacher sitting facing a group of school pupils in uniform who are listening to her reading from a book on her lap.

Poor school attendance impacts a child’s future, not just through their educational achievement but also socially and developmentally.

Pupils with mental and neurodevelop精神障碍s or who self-harm are more likely to miss school through absenteeism and exclusion than their classmates

Now researchers say these absences are potential indicators of current or future poor mental health and could be used to target vital assessment and potentially life-changing early intervention.

一项由 电子游戏 安·约翰教授, highlighted the importance of integrated school-based and healthcare strategies to support young peoples’ engagement with education.

约翰教授说: “Children with poor mental health, who are neurodiverse or who self-harm often struggle at school.

“健康和教育专业人士, services and policy makers should be aware that children with poor attendance may be experiencing emotional ill health, whether this is diagnosed in school or early adulthood.

“Absences and exclusions may provide a useful tool to identify those who require additional support. Early intervention will not only reduce immediate distress and difficulties for the young person but also may also interrupt poor life trajectories and improve outcomes in later life.”

这项新研究见证了来自 Swansea, Cardiff and Cambridge Universities and NHS Wales, examine the association between attendance (absences and exclusions) and neurodiversity, 心理健康和自残在437,412 Welsh school pupils aged from seven to 16 between 2009 and 2013.

发表在 《电子游戏官网》, their paper highlights that children and young people with a neurodevelop精神障碍, 精神障碍, or who self-harm diagnosed and recorded before the age of 24 are much more likely to miss school than their peers.

School absenteeism and exclusion rates were higher after the age of 11 in all children but disproportionally more so in those with a recorded disorder.

The study also found individuals with more than one recorded disorder were more likely to be absent or excluded and this was exacerbated with each additional disorder.

There are many ways attendance may be impacted by neurodevelop精神障碍s, 心理健康问题和自残. From disruptive behaviours resulting in exclusion or somatic symptoms such as stomach pain and headaches leading to authorised absences to symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, 家庭和同伴问题,比如欺凌.

If absence results in social isolation and poorer academic performance, this could go on to exacerbate mental health and attendance issues.

The study also identified important differences among genders: “Within the diagnosed populations, 患有神经发育障碍的女孩, depression and substance misuse were more likely to be absent, 男孩更有可能被排除在外.

约翰教授补充说: “This aligns with a view that boys express their mental distress through their behaviour which in turn impacts the school environment resulting in their exclusion, 而女孩, especially with emotional disorders or delayed diagnosis of neurodevelop精神障碍s, tend to be more anxious and withdraw from social contact.”

然而, the team said having special educational needs (SEN) status reduced the likelihood of a pupil being absent or excluded, potentially highlighting the positive impact of recognition, 诊断和教育干预.

Professor John said the study was unique because it linked routinely collected primary and secondary care health data with educational data.

她补充道: “There is growing interest in school-based prevention and early intervention programmes which focus on improving the school environment and culture for reducing adolescent mental health problems. Other interventions have included psychological interventions focussing primarily on anxiety and depression symptoms.

“This has increased relevance as children return to school following closures and blended learning during the pandemic.

“Attendance and exclusion data could provide useful information about where to focus limited resources. School-based mental health prevention strategies may also help build resilience, enabling pupils to develop strategies for managing and improving their mental health and wellbeing as well as to understand when and how to seek additional help.”

这项工作是由 青少年心理健康数据平台 based at Swansea University, funded by MQ and forms part of the ADR Wales programme of work.