Determinants of school attendance in elementary school students in Japan: A structural equation model
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Nakamura-Thomas, H., Sano, N. & Maciver, D. (2021) Determinants of school attendance in elementary school students in Japan: A structural equation model. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 15:38.
Background Managing school nonattendance is a priority worldwide. Frequent school nonattendance in early school years has immediate and long-term negative effects. Although strategies to address nonattendance are being developed and implemented, the number of students with school nonattendance issues is increasing. In this study, we explored students’ feelings and perceptions about attending school and the potential determinants of a positive attitude towards attending school.Methods We hypothesized that a positive perception towards attending school was influenced by relationships, perceptions of current circumstances, subjective health, and having someone to share experiences and thoughts with. For examining the hypothesized model, an original questionnaire with 14 items was developed, including perceptions towards school attendance (an item), relationships with friends and school teachers (5 items), current circumstances (4 items), subjective health (3 items), and the individuals available to share experiences and thoughts with (1 item). In total, 6860 children submitted the questionnaire (85.3% response rate) and 6841 responses were included to examine the model. Children were 10 or 11 years old, and selected from 111 state-run schools in 8 randomly selected school districts.Results The final model demonstrated good fit and showed that the latent variable of relationships with friends and school teachers directly impacted on how children felt about attending school. The latent variable of subjective health also directly impacted on how children felt about attending school but not strongly. Other latent variables were not significant.Conclusions The importance of positive relationships with friends and teachers in overcoming school nonattendance has been emphasized in previous studies. This study has provided evidence that these relationships impacted children’s positive perception about attending school in a large sample of students aged 10–11 years. The latent variable of subjective health may require more items to capture mental health.
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