The relationship between family processes and school absenteeism and dropout : A meta-analysis

Journal article

Marlow, Sallyanne A. and Rehman, Neelofar. (2021). The relationship between family processes and school absenteeism and dropout : A meta-analysis. The Educational and Developmental Psychologist. 38(1), pp. 3-23.
AuthorsMarlow, Sallyanne A. and Rehman, Neelofar

School absenteeism and dropout can have long-term detrimental consequences for young people. It is empirically established that children exposed to positive family processes (PFP) such as parental involvement, support, and high educational expectations have a reduced likelihood of being absent and dropping out of school. In contrast, negative family processes (NFP) such as conflict, maltreatment, low supervision, and harsh punishment have been shown to increase the likelihood of absenteeism and dropout. Using meta-analytic review, the present study aimed to investigate the relationship between PFP and NFP and school absenteeism and dropout among primary and secondary school students. Studies were identified through five electronic databases and the reference lists of included and key articles. The relationship between family process and school absenteeism or dropout in primary or secondary school children was analyzed across 33 studies. Effect sizes were used to conduct meta-analyses on overall relationships and multiple outcome analyses. The findings indicated a significant negative relationship between PFP and school absenteeism and dropout and a significant positive relationship between school absenteeism and dropout and NFP. The relationship between PFP and school absenteeism and dropout was strongest for primary school, whereas the correlation between NFP and absenteeism and dropout was strongest for secondary school students. The present findings support a systemic focus in understanding school absenteeism and dropout by highlighting the need for further research into the association between family processes and school attendance. In addition, the findings strengthen the need to view school attendance with a developmental lens and take into consideration family processes critical to lifespan development when designing psychological intervention.

Keywordsschool absenteeism; school dropout; family processes; primary school; secondary school
JournalThe Educational and Developmental Psychologist
Journal citation38 (1), pp. 3-23
PublisherCambridge University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85102248596
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range3-23
Publisher's version
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online10 Mar 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted25 Sep 2020
Deposited25 Nov 2021
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