Student stress and absenteeism in primary schools

Year: 1999

Author: Leonard, Carl, Bourke, Sid, Schofield, Neville

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper presents a study of possible relationships between stress and absenteeism of 254 Year 5 and 6 students in 19 classes at 6 Lower Hunter Valley primary schools. The Quality of school life scales were used as indicators of student stress. Various student and teacher contextual variables were also investigated for their relationship with student absence. The teacher variables included teacher satisfaction and stress.

The analyses indicated a strong link between student perception of the quality of their school life and absenteeism. Where students felt less stress (as measured by higher satisfaction with their school life) they were absent less often than students who were more stressed (lower satisfaction with their school life). Female students were also more likely to be absent than males. Students taught by teachers who were more satisfied with their relationship with their students were themselves more satisfied (less stressed) and likely to be absent less often. The higher the overall level of stress teachers perceived in the current year of their teaching career, the lower the level of stress (higher the level of general satisfaction) of their students. Finally the potential for future research regarding the use of a appropriate stress management techniques within the classroom context is described.