Understanding the relationship between anxiety, cognitive processing, and school attendance: a developmental perspective

Newman, Rebecca Clare (2010) Understanding the relationship between anxiety, cognitive processing, and school attendance: a developmental perspective. University of Southampton, School of Psychology, Doctoral Thesis , 123pp.


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School absenteeism can have serious implications for the individual. Young people who display school refusal behaviour (child-motivated absence that is often underpinned by anxiety) present an ongoing challenge to professionals. Previous research has found an association between anxiety, cognition, and absenteeism. The current study extends this research by exploring the relationship from a developmental perspective. 36 young people (aged 7–16 years) with school attendance ?93%, their parents/carers (n=31), and teachers (n=18) participated in the study. They completed a number of self-report measures to assess symptoms of anxiety; behavioural difficulties; and the young person?s motivation for refusing school. In addition, young people completed an emotional Stroop task to assess attentional bias associated with separation and social anxiety. Bivariate correlations revealed association between attendance and a number of behavioural symptoms, highlighting certain developmental trends. Hierarchical Regression Analysis provided evidence that cognition mediates the relationship between behaviour (anxiety and behavioural difficulties) and school attendance. Directions for future research and implications for clinical and educational practice are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Psychology
ePrint ID: 170583
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2010Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2011 15:44
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:31
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/170583

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