The refusal to attend school due to emotional or psychological distress. School refusal differs from truancy (skipping class) in that adolescents with school refusal feel fear or anxiety towards attending school. Truant children on the other hand generally do not have any abnormal feelings of fear towards school, they often feeling bored or angry with it instead.
Approximately 1 to 5% of school-aged children have a form of school refusal. It occurs a lot more frequently during major changes in a child or adolescent life, such as starting kindergarten,moving up to middle school, moving up to high school or even just transferring/moving schools. While this was formerly called “school phobia”, the term school refusal was created to reflect children or adolescents having issues attending school for a variety of different reasons. Some of these reasons may or may not be the expression of a true phobia, such as social or separation anxiety .
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