Chronic illness, psychosocial problems, and school absences: Results of a survey of one country

M. Weitzman, D. K. Walker, S. Gortmaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The number of days absent from school during the 1979-80 school year for 573 children aged 6-17 years in Berkshire County, Massachusetts was ascertained by parent reporting in a random household survey. Children, with a wide range of chronic health impairments were reported as missing more school than their healthy peers (8.7 days vs. 5.8, p < .001). Although there was a trend for children reported as having functional impairments to miss more school than those with chronic conditions without functional impairments (11.0 vs. 8.1), the difference was not statistically significant. Children with a variety of reported psychosocial difficulties missed more school than those without psychosocial difficulties for the sample as a whole and for those with reported chronic conditions. These findings document support for the assumption that children with a wide range of physical and psychological problems miss more school than their healthy peers and illustrate that the etiology of school absences is multifactoral and reflects behavioral as well as purely physical phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-141
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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