Bullying, Peer Social Support, and Absenteeism Relationship: A Correlational Study

Concordia University-Portland



 Previous studies into the field of truancy and absenteeism in secondary schools have categorized significant truancy causes and absenteeism into four groups. Also, most of the previous studies have a longstanding view that the problematic issue of truancy exists only in one single domain which is the schools.  Scholars who have studied the effect of absenteeism and truancy in secondary school have not taken into account the existing assertions that have become a topic of discussion in various forums. These forums suggest the ways through which the simplistic thinking can be used to place severe constraints that can be used to understand the various complex ways through which a child can develop the truant behaviors that they may exhibit later in life. According to Ingul and Nordahl (2013), the simplistic thinking through which students develop the missing behaviors are always vital to understanding the primary cause of truant behaviors and solutions. Viewing the problem of school truancy must be completed as a multi-dimensional issue with a multitude of factors coming into play. The various factors that correlate to truancy as per the existing literature are known to be numerous and diverse, making truancy to be a broad topic with various causes and effects. Truancy is also believed to exist in the context of interaction which includes the interaction between the various students through which they acquire some of these characteristics. Some of the interaction effects also include the support accorded to the students from the peers, the experience the students acquire from the school environment and the settings of the community in general. The purpose of this correlational study is to determine whether a relationship exists between bullying and absenteeism in school students of age 18 and above within rural settings. Also, the study attempts to establish the relationship between peer social support and absenteeism among students of age 18 and above within rural settings.

Table of Contents

Abstract                                                                                                                                   2

Chapter One:                                                                                                                           5

Introduction                                                                                                                5

Background, Context, History, and Conceptual Framework of the Problem                        9

Problem Statement                                                                                                      12

Purpose of Proposed Study                                                                                        12

Research Questions                                                                                                     13

Hypothesis                                                                                                                  13

Rationale, Relevance, and Significance of the Proposed Study                                13

Definition of Terms                                                                                                    15

Assumptions, Delimitations, and Limitations                                                             15

Summary                                                                                                                     17

Chapter Two:  Literature Review                                                                                           17

Introduction                                                                                                                17

Conceptual Framework                                                                                               19

Behaviorism Theory                                                                                                    25

Cognitive Information Processing                                                                              26

Review of Research Literature and Methodological Literature                                 29

Review of the Methodological Findings                                                                    37

Synthesis of the Research Findings                                                                            40

Critique of the Previous Research                                                                              42

Summary                                                                                                                     46

Chapter Three:  Methodology                                                                                                 47

Introduction                                                                                                                47

Purpose of the Proposed Study                                                                                  49

Research Questions                                                                                                     50

Research Design                                                                                                         50

Target Population, Sampling Method and Related Procedures                                  52

Instrumentation                                                                                                           53

Data Collection                                                                                                           56

Operationalization of Variables                                                                                  57

Data Analysis Procedures                                                                                           59

Limitations and Delimitations of the Research Design                                              60

Limitations                                                                                                                  60

Delimitations                                                                                                               61

Validity                                                                                                                       61

Expected Findings                                                                                                      62

Ethical Issues in the Proposed Study                                                                         63

Summary                                                                                                                     63

References                                                                                                                              65                                                                                                                           Chapter One: IntroductionIntroduction

Each day, hundreds of thousands of American learners are out of school without permissible excuses, and this habit has risen to among the top ten major problems experienced by schools across the nation (DeSocio, VanCura, & Nelson, 2007). Absenteeism has been increasing. Demir and Karabeyogular (2016) in their study noted that administrative records from secondary education indicate that there is a rapid increase compared to other levels of education. For instance, in 2008-2009, the Department of Education noticed that the ratio of students who were absent for more than 20 days to all registered secondary school students was 1.1 percent. However, in 2009-2010, that ratio had risen to 4 percent (Demir & Karabeyoglu, 2016). On the contrary, the vocational and technical secondary education attendance rate rose from 1.45 percent to 4.1percent between 2008 and 2010, clearly indicating that absenteeism is a problem that is notorious to the secondary education but not to higher institutions of education (Demir & Karabeyoglu, 2016). Truancy is not only an American educational problem, but it is also a global menace. One and a half percent, 1.8 percent, 2.0 percent and 2.4 percent of the overall student population of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ulster respectively are out of class without permission, and in Scotland, five students miss school every day (Rivers, 2010).

Ironically, student attendance is one of the significant variables contributing to higher student achievement. Studies into the relationship between school attendance and academic achievement point out a strong relationship between course attendance and standardized test scores or graduate grades (Gottrified, 2009; Nichols, 2003; Roby, 2004; Sheldon, 2007). Some researchers have suggested that the levels of attendance are direct indicator as well as determinants of academic success (Sheldon, 2007). Also, research has discovered that besides low attendance being a predictor of academic success, it also predicts high-risk factors for future education (Nichols, 2003). Fundamentally, truancy and absenteeism interrupt the learning process because the educational system is established from the assumption that students will attend school, and that success solely depends on full participation in entire classes (Rivers, 2010).

Furthermore, truancy and absenteeism carry direct and indirect costs to the individuals, families, communities, and schools. Truancy or absenteeism in school, as identified above, negatively affect student learning experience whose result is a mediocre academic achievement. The adverse effect on learning is then passed on to other learners since the teachers are sometimes forced to use the additional time to compensate for those who missed the classes. Eventually, other students lose learning time, this is a major problem in interconnected courses such as mathematics (Rivers, 2010). When learners fall behind in their learning, they are likely to lose interest which increases their chances of failing (Rivers, 2010).

Additionally, absent students set a terrible example to the rest and encourage the habit of truancy and absenteeism (Rivers, 2010). Absenteeism doubles as an indicator of low academic performance as well as diminished social and life success. Absenteeism acts as a barrier to the establishment of a solid foundation concerning a sense of responsibility and discipline. The result will show-up in discipline habits and work problems in future which may ultimately translate into an inability to work, low income or total unemployment due to failure to secure a job (Rivers, 2010). Such individuals will not raise income to sustain their families and make no positive impact on the communities.

Moreover, students who experience increased truancy and absenteeism are inclined to face psychological problems such as behavioral disorders and depression (Reid, 2003). They may also get involved in criminal violence in and out of school. Absenteeism also encourages teenage pregnancy as well as drug and substance abuse (Gottfried, 2009). In a nutshell, truancy and absenteeism are considered reliable predictors of academic failure and further consequences which include risk behaviors that will eventually impact on not only the individual but also schools, families and entire communities.

What is behind these high rates of truancy and chronic absenteeism among school students? According to Zhang, Katsiyannis, Barrett, and Wilson (2007), causes of truancy fall under four categories; family factors, school, economic influences, and student variables. This research will focus on student variables and determine relationships between student bullying, peer support, and missed school days. Student variables that potentially play a role in truancy include mental and physical health problems, self-perception, substance abuse, and detachment from school. Bullying and a lack of peer support can lead to many different student issues in school. Victims of bullying tend to be insecure which provides an excuse to miss school (Reid, 1999). According to DeSocio et al. (2007), mental and physical health issues such as depression, stress disorder and anxiety among the learners contribute to absenteeism. Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston (2012) suggested that students who are victims are relieved when the school day ends, so they have absolution from the bully. Students that held low self-perceptions were most likely to be absent from school than their counterparts who held high-self-esteem. For instance, students that felt they would not graduate from high school concluded that they would not join college and hence needed not to attend school all the time (Henry, 2007). DeSocio et al. (2007) established that 30% of truants attributed their absences to detachment or disengagement from school. Learners exhibiting school disengagement are not committed to the school, hold low aspirations for their future and are overall poor achievers (Henry, 2007).

In large schools, students may feel alienated and isolated in the school setting and choose to escape such feelings by opting to stay out of such environment (Wilkins, 2008). Such students are uncomfortable with the school environment and feel devalued, unaccepted or unwanted as a result of a lack of connection to trustworthy persons within the school. In large classrooms, teachers easily fail to meet students’ diverse needs, leading to a poor student-teacher relationship. Cumulatively, these factors lead to a school climate and attitude whereby each fends for himself or herself. Henry (2007) attributed 23% of truants as a result of learners feeling unsafe in their school environment. Logically, if a student feels unsafe, uncomfortable, and insecure in a school environment, he or she will choose not to attend.

Truancy and absenteeism among secondary school students may be as a result of the four categories; family factors, school factors, economic factors, and student variables (Zhang et al. 2007) that causes truancy identified in their research. However, since the simplistic approach places severe constraints that can be used to understand the complex issues related to truancy as well as the need to view truancy as a multi-dimensional issue with a magnitude of factors, this study seeks to identify the relationship between bullying, peer support, and missed days of school. The basic data gained from this study will provide valuable information about student’s absences from school.

Bullying is a challenge with which various learning institutions are struggling to overcome. Craig and Pepler (2007) proposed that bullying at schools takes place when people are repeatedly exposed over time to negative physical and verbal activities on part of one or more learners. The relationships of bullying involve imbalance of power and strength. It involves repeated aggressive activities committed by people who have power advantages over their victims (Craig & Pepler, 2007). Application of exact definitions to bullying may be hard since bullying has transformed and continues to change in line with societal transformations. For instance, as technologies develop, new opportunities for possible bullying also develop. The idea that a behavior of a person, as described by Social Learning Theory (Clark, 2013), is learned by emulating and observing the behaviors of others are significant to this research since it can assist school districts to better comprehend why bullying may be occurring in their learning institutions, especially secondary schools and the way to deal with it.

Ingul and Nordahl (2013) noted that because experiences of social interactions can shape behavior, both the victims and the bullies are in a position of learning pro-social behaviors which are suitable for schools in case those pro-social behaviors are modeled or observed as well as openly supported and taught by educators. Today, teachers are more aware of the direct bullying effects on peer social relationships due to the augmented attention provided to victimization impacts on other in settings of the public schools. Nevertheless, educators still note: they are not ready to operate with learners who bully, having limited comprehension or knowledge of the related bullying and aggression effects on other school variables like attendance and academic achievement for both perpetrators’ and victims’ together with other victimized learners in proximity to the bullies.

Background, Context, History and Conceptual Framework of the Problem

The plethora of the literature that is available shows that the causes of truancy and absenteeism can be grouped as school sourced, teachers’ sourced, parents’ sourced, students’ sourced, and psychology sourced (Zhang et al., 2007). School-related truancy and absenteeism causes are those related to existing relationships between the teachers and the students and affect their behaviors. They also include the school factors such as school climate, attitudes, class size, school disciplinary policy on truancy, and ability to meet the diverse needs of the learners (Wilkins, 2008). In large-size schools, students often feel isolated, and to escape they choose not to attend school (Dahl, 2016). Often, these students tend to feel uncomfortable, unvalued, unwanted, insecure, and unaccepted. The students often lack connection to individuals within the school whom they can trust and turn to, in case they have a problem (Dahl, 2016). Unsafe school environment prompts learners to skip school (Henry & Yelkpieri, 2017). Where the school policy on truancy allows teachers to impose severe punishment on the truant students, the situation may even worsen further (Tobin, 2009).

Balfanz and Bynes (2012) stated that parents also play a role in encouraging school truancy in their children. Depending on the nature of the family in which a given child hails, there exist many factors which may dictate the behavior of the child. Factors such as parenting styles, the divorce, and the breakdown of parents always largely contribute to the behaviors of the children (Balfanz & Bynes, 2012). Also, parents who fail to supervise their children after school contributes to higher truancy levels (Henry & Yelkpieri, 2017). Similarly, household incomes have a bearing on truancy levels. For example, children from low-income families tend to exhibit higher truancy than their counterparts (Zhang et al., 2007).

Truancy may also arise from the student factors. Student psychology is a crucial determinant in truancy. According to Chen, Culhane, Metraux, Park, & Venable (2016), the psychological moods of the students are always the primary determinant of their decision to go to school. Enomoto (2007) mentioned that when the students feel ignored by their teachers, they lose the morale of going to school. The motivation of these students is crucial for their self-esteem which dictates their school attendance. Also, students with mental health problems such as stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are likely to skip school more often. Henry and Yelkpieri (2017) established that students who abused substances, such as alcohol, were more likely to skip school than their counterparts. Students are likely to become truant if they smoke cigarettes and marijuana at least once a month (Henry & Yelkpieri, 2017). Student’s self-perception also determines truancy, since those who hold lower perceptions opt to skip school more regularly than those who hold higher self-perceptions and their future (Henry & Yelkpieri, 2017).

According to Barger (2018) and Kennedy, Russom and Kevorkian (2012) today, school attendance is one of the most perplexing problems experienced in public schools across the globe. Teachers often compromise the effective discharge of their professional responsibilities by several challenges which are independent of the attendance of the students in these schools. Barger (2018) continues by saying these challenges are often differing viewpoints of what is and what is not bullying between the student and teacher. Thus, as a remedy, schools have stipulated to teach students the difference between bullying, positive advice, and helpful criticism while continuing to encourage good attendance (Barger, 2018). The effects of absenteeism are always far-reaching with significant consequences that may result in negative implications in various levels within society. Henry and Yelkpieri (2017) stated that truancy could be vital in predicting poor academic performance, maladjustment, school dropout, teenage pregnancy, delinquency, and substance abuse.

The long-term effects of truancy include marital instability, violence, job instability, incarceration, and adult criminality (Teasley, 2004). Truancy is also known to exert a negative effect on the community because of its correlation with crime, delinquency, as well as other adverse outcomes (Teasley, 2004). Truancy and absenteeism also lead to school dropouts and delinquency issues such as theft, burglary, and vandalism. Ekstrand (2015) consistently found a relationship between high rates of delinquency and truancy as well as the dropout rates. The youths that have dropped out of school and indulge in criminal activities finally end up behind bars in the United States (Dahl, 2016). They will add to the escalating number of inmates who have continued to siphon much of the public resources (Holtes, Bannink, Zwanenburg, As, Raat, & Broeren, 2015).

Predictor Variables

–          Bullying



–          Peer Social Support


-As bullying occurs, missed days of school increase.

-As bullying does not occur, missed days of school decrease.

-Peer Social Support is lacking, missed days of school increase.

-Peer Social Support is present, missed days of school decrease.

Criterion Variable


–          School absences



Figure 1. Conceptual Framework

Problem Statement

In identifying the problem of absenteeism in a County in a rural Virginia school division one must investigate some of the causes of why students miss school.  The county school division is making a focused effort to maximize student attendance and lower yearly absences (Rockingham County Public Schools Student Handbook, 2018). It is the goal of the researcher to determine if two predictor variables (bullying and peer social support) have a relationship with the criterion variable (school absences).


Purpose of the Proposed Study

The purpose of this quantitative correlational study is to determine whether a relationship exists between bullying and absenteeism in school students of age 18 and above within rural settings. Also, the study attempts to establish the relationship between peer social support and absenteeism among students of age 18 and above within rural settings.

The proposed study intends to use the findings and conclusions as a foundation to potentially build on another study to investigate how the two variables lead to absenteeism. The examination of each of these issues will be necessary to discern which variable plays a significant role in truancy and absenteeism among the 18-year-old secondary school students to cause a higher rate of truancy. Examining the factors will allow the researcher and the beneficiaries of the study findings to identify peculiar characteristics contributing to the significant difference in truancy and absenteeism among verified participants.

Research Questions

  1. Is there any relationship between peer social support and school absences?
  2. Is there any relationship between being bullied and school absences?


H01: There is no significant relationship between peer social support and school absences.

HA1: There is a significant relationship between peer social support and school absences.

H02: There is no significant relationship between being bullied and school absences.

HA2: There is a significant relationship between being bullied and school absences.

 Rationale, Relevance, and Significance of the Proposed Study

The primary purpose of this study is to identify a possible relationship between students bullied and school absences. Also, there is possible relationship between peer social support and school absences. The objective of the research will potentially enable educational experts as well as the schools’ administration to find ways of reducing the ever-increasing rate of school absenteeism. The success or performance of the students in secondary schools has been most affected by the high level of absenteeism in different institutions (Reid, 1999). This research will act as the foundation for the future solution aimed at increasing attendance through the eradication or minimizing student absenteeism which is one of the major performance problems in secondary schools (Nichols, 2003). School absenteeism greatly affects many students and, as a result, it has been the central issue of concern to the parents, teachers, and administrators. It also has accompanying costs such as depression, unemployment, and illiteracy to the student, other students, the school and the entire community (Reid, 1999).

Furthermore, there is lack of enough studies capable of providing a solution to the school attendance problem hence the need to conduct this research. Previous studies by Sahin, Arseven, and Kilic (2016) and Fan and Wolters (2014) have examined the issue of truancy and absenteeism in general or among the entire secondary school population. With this quantitative research, the actual data will be applied to enable the educators to understand specifically two causes of attendance problems and after that find appropriate measures on how to address the problem. Of essence is to focus on the 18-year-old attendance issues and from there understand the pertinent issues such as school environment in determining truancy and attendance. An 18-year-old is typically a senior in high school and has encountered many different experiences throughout their school career.

The proposed research will be practical in that there will be no use of secondary data or qualitative studies to answer the research questions. For the proposed research, applying systematic and theoretical analysis as the methodology is essential. The raw data from the real world set up will be analysed casting no doubt on the applicability of its findings. Logically, the best solutions to a problem are those founded on the real facts in the actual setting. Therefore, by ascertaining the relationships between bullying, peer social support, and missed school days’ help identify two possible causes for truancy.

Definition of Terms

Absenteeism. Literature provides slightly varying definitions for absenteeism. Some scholars (Altinkurt, 2008; Kearney, 2008) consider absenteeism as the absence of schooling by using a verified excuse or using an unverifiable excuse. Some consider absenteeism as a general term used when referring to a general absence from school or work without any valid reason (Akbasli, Sahin, & Yilmaz, 2017). For the proposed study, the researcher defines absenteeism as the student’s absence from school because of a particular reason. The proposed study considers absenteeism as a phenomenon that result from some causes which are either related to the school, the parent or the student. Therefore, for a student to miss school there must be an underlying reason which the study wants to uncover through inquiry.

Truancy. Akbasli, et al. (2017) defined truancy as a situation whereby a learner deliberately stays away from school without permission. It is synonymous with “skipping off”, “dodging”, “going missing”, and “mitching” (Akbasli et al., 2017). The proposed study similarly defined truancy and often uses “skipping of school” to mean the same thing. Additionally, Akbasli et al. (2017) defined truancy as any intentional, unauthorized, unjustified, as well as the illegal absence of an individual from compulsory education. The absence resulting from truancy is often due to a free will of the students and is not inclusive of the legitimate absence that may arise due to an excused absence.

Assumptions, Delimitations, and Limitations

Assumptions: Researchers have any number of items in their study that they recognize as authentic (“Stating the Obvious,” n.d.). These authentic items are known as assumptions. Within the proposed study there includes some assumptions. The first assumption is that 18-year-old students have encountered experiences that lead them to miss days of school. Depending on the student, such experiences may affect the way they feel about the school, safe or unsafe. When it feels unsafe, the researcher assumes the days missed will likely be high. Every school day missed is accounted for is another assumption. In other words, every student that is absent from school has a reason either valid or invalid, but which accounts for why he or she chose to skip school. The last assumption is that schools implement general programs to deal with absenteeism without considering the main cause of the issue which may vary from one student to another. As a result, students may be punished or face a court hearing which does not address the needs and do not account for an individual’s absenteeism.

Limitations: Every study has its failings that the researcher does not have authority over (“Stating the Obvious,” n.d.). These failings are known as limitations. The proposed study survey questions have been written to aid in the collection of data on the amount of bullying and the amount of peer social support that a student experiences in high school. This means that much of the data is collected from students and their self-report concerning bullying, peer social support, and school attendance. However, the researcher will provide a definition of each variable in an attempt to limit the subjectivity of the respondent’s answers. Also, finding enough students to participate in the study may be challenging because some of them may decline to participate.

Delimitations: When developing and organizing studies researchers must define the perimeters of the study. Examples of the perimeters are the objective, variable, and research questions. The three examples are in the control of the researcher and is known as delimitations (“Stating the Obvious,” n.d.). With this study several delimitations are associated. First, information is only obtained from three of the four high schools located in the rural area of Virginia.  Secondly, the research delimited the two surveys to students that are 18 years of age and older that continue to be enrolled in school. Lastly, delimitations were not applied to other characteristics that may include special needs students, students that are on free and reduced lunch, socioeconomic status, gender or diversity of the students.


Once the proposed study is completed the researcher seeks to establish a relationship between 18-year-old students that have experienced some bullying and school absences. Additionally, the researcher seeks to establish a relationship between peer social support and school absences. Identifying and examining the main variables of bullying, peer social support, and school absences identified in the literature as possible causes for students to miss school frequently.

The researcher organized the proposed study into five chapters. The first chapter will introduce the reader of the dissertation to the research problem, research question, relevance, rationale and significance of the study. It also defines essential terms used in the study to help the reader understand what they mean in the context of the research. A literature review documents the existing literature on bullying and absenteeism in the second chapter. It enlightens the reader on what is already known about the research problems. The third chapter will focus on the proposed study’s methodologies. It shall explain the methods used by the researcher to answer the research questions. It shall also explain the approaches used to analyse and present the study findings. The fourth chapter will consist of results and discussion. In this chapter, the researcher provides the results and analysis, and then follows up by a discussion of the results. Finally, the dissertation will end with chapter five by providing conclusions and recommendations.



Chapter Two: Literature Review


According to Mishna (2012), bullying is a form of hostility which can either be indirect or direct. Bullying occurs in an influential environment by parties engaging in verbal, mental, and physical activity. Bullying leads to absenteeism among school students. Absenteeism entails regularly staying away from school without a valid reason. Pupils who engage in truancy fail to attend classes due to fear of avoiding harassment.

Bullying is rampant among teens in the United States. A quarter of students experience bullying according to research on harassment in 2013 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 15.5% of students miss school due to harassment, while 4.1% are absent due to rational reasons (Adolesc, 2015). Furthermore, electronic bullying leads to absenteeism, according to Grinshteyn and Tony Yang (2017). Most students are absent from school because of fear. Students with chronic conditions are absent from school since they are victims of regular bullying, according to Grinshteyn and Tony Yang (2017). Interventions assists in reducing bullying rates. Integrating community efforts and school management contributes to influencing avoidance of harassment in schools. Unfortunately, several approaches which have been put in place to curb bullying in high school have been futile.

Factors that contribute to bullying in high school include cultural conditions, peer groups, family, and individual features (Mishna, 2012). Bullying is a repetitive act which is hazardous. Prejudice is a form of bullying which takes place when one is not a member of a specific gender and has different ideology concerning a particular group (Mishna, 2012). High school students torment their colleagues because they are not in the same social status, gender, and racial disparity. Moreover, high school students are victims of harassment because of having low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and absence of support from teachers.

Bullying leads to students being absent from school because they feel insecure. Research by Grinshteyn and Tony Yang (2017) shows how electronic bullying makes students engage in absenteeism more often than those who are not victims of harassment. Victims of bullying engage in binge drinking because of depression (Grinshteyn & Yang, 2017). Harassment makes students feel hopeless daily due to fear. Students who are absent due to bullying achieve poor performance. Absent students fail to attend classes with essential subjects and teachings.

Furthermore, harassment results in high levels of unhappiness, anxiety, insecurity, depression, low self-esteem, mental and physical symptoms (Gruber & Fineran, 2007). Victims of annoyance have difficulty in making friends, isolation, and weak interactions with their classmates. Victims of a bully do not build strong relations with other parties — students who encounter bullying experience high levels of despair. Harassment facilitates the development of anxiety and depression among students. Records show that 20% of school victims had a clinical range on normal anxiety and depression measure in research by Espelage and Holt (2001).

Truancy refers to any intentional, unlawful, and inexcusable absence of an individual from compulsory education (Jones, 2019). [JD1]Absence resulting from absenteeism is often not legitimate since it happens at free will. Legal procedures that emanate from absenteeism does not relate to absence due to valid reasons. Schools across the globe employ policies and measures which intervene on truancy among their students. Truancy leads to the inability to graduate and receive class credits among school students. Truant students have to make for nonattendance through fines and summer schooling.

Institutions, districts, and governments have put in place various strategies for recognizing truancy. Mechanisms collectively identify consecutive illegal absence from school as a standard definition. In a report by Baker, Sigmon, and Nugent (2001), most students practice truancy in the United States, leading to schools ranking it in their top ten challenges. Many students fail to attend classes without a valid excuse from the relevant authority. Eventually, truancy significantly contributes to undermining the educational system of the United States. Menace of truancy and absenteeism intensifies from schools to other environments. Nonetheless, absenteeism not only affects students in the United States but also affects school students in the UK countries such as Scotland, England, Ulster and Wales (Grant, 2007, Shute & Cooper, 2015, Truancy rates worst in the UK: Education, 2008).

According to Reid (2006), school attendance critical variables simplifies measuring of achievement levels among students. Students who display long-lasting absenteeism tend to practice truancy hence suggesting the need for implementation of corrective measures. Intervention which curbs truancy needs proper approach. Truancy and absenteeism have devastating impacts if no response is applicable, therefore requiring urgent supervision from specialists. Absenteeism affects the progress of students through adverse physical, social, and psychological effects. Nonattendance expresses the student’s negative emotional state about school. Moreover, absenteeism represents many different motives that the teachers, as well as parents, need to take into account (Reid, 2006).

The accomplishment of school students in their coursework depends on their daily appearance in classes as well as lesson attendance. According to Breda (2014), factors which are logical such as financial constraints, sickness, high school fees, and weather conditions attribute to absenteeism. Factors contributing to truancy in school students include social status, age, mistreatment, lacking peer social support, the arrogance of teachers, and poor school administration (Mervilde, 1981). These factors need regulation for proper tackling of truancy and absenteeism among students.

Conceptual Framework

There are various groups of absenteeism classes, which includes, school sourced, teachers’ sourced, parents’ sourced, students’ sourced, and psychology sourced (Zhang et al., 2007). School sourced absenteeism emanates from existing relationships between teachers and students, which affects their behaviors. Negative thoughts among students originate from their existing human behaviors. Students incorporate harmful intentions concerning activities within the school, incompetence of staff, and harsh supervision of a school, resulting in agitation. Students whose practices entails school sourced absenteeism eventually lose curiosity regarding school attendance, according to Williams (2002). Some school students engage in truancy due to climate settings, the extent of school, the magnitude of classes, arrogances, punishment policy at school, and pleasure. Dahl (2016), alludes that students who attend large schools may seldom experience a lack of inclusion in the affairs of their school. Unfortunately, most students avoid a feeling of non-inclusion by not attending classes. Students experiencing isolation tend to feel uncomfortable, unrecognized, unwelcome, and doubtful. In most cases of separation, students lack someone whom they can confide in to find a solution to their grievances.

Students have instructional and social needs while in large classrooms. Relationship between teachers and students is always weak since instructors cannot continually address problems of every student. According to Strand and Granlund (2013) students encounter cold school climate where each survives on their own because of feeble association with teachers. Students feel insecure in whom to confide in with their problems. Henry and Yelkpieri (2017) identify in their study that 23% of the truant students who choose to avoid attending classes is due to feeling insecure. According to Tobin (2009), administering severe punishment for truant learners in such cases can only intensify the absentee behavior. Corrective measures which impacts on the functioning of students control truancy rates rather than an intensive penalty.

Williams (1999) identifies teacher sourced absenteeism, which often comes about as an outcome of teachers’ high anticipations for their students ensuing into truancy. High expectations from teachers attribute to absenteeism in students. Students tend to attend school in cases where they encounter a positive attitude from instructors (Wadesango & Machingambi, 2011). Optimistic attitude and behaviors of teachers while inside and outside of institutions affects the personality of students. Dictatorial, high expectations, and absence of communication from tutors transpire into teacher sourced absenteeism. Teachers need to establish positive interactions with students to promote lower rates of truancy.

Parents also promote school truancy in their kids. The nature of the family of a child and many other factors influences their conduct. Childcare styles, separation of parents, and failure marriages generally contribute to behaviors of kids (Balfanz & Bynes, 2012). Pressure from family often steers truancy in students. Students depend on the support of their family to continue with education. Parents’ training, household earnings, and parental supervision affect domestic homes. Henry and Yelkpieri (2017) identify a close connection between these household factors and truant behaviors among kids. Lower education levels of fathers lead to high cases of truancy in children. Likewise, in cases where the mother is a high school dropout, truancy rates also increase. Therefore, parents ought to be careful when attending to their children. Failure of establishing a healthy and positive relationship between parents and children promotes the development of parent caused truancy.

Henry and Yelkpieri (2017) indicate that children whose parents never direct them after school are probably engaging in truancy. In their study, 29.9% of the children became truant because of lack of supervision after school for periods lasting four hours. Moreover, approximately 11.3% of the children became truant because of lack of oversight thoroughly after school. Parent supervision contributes to declining of truancy cases — children who operate under supervision practice behaviors which are desirable in their households. A comparable study by Zhang et al. (2007) links truancy in kids to levels of earnings of their homes. Kids who originate from a humble background engage in truancy and eventually end up in the juvenile justice system. Kids hailing from a prosperous household do not take part in truancy behaviors regularly.

Students engage in truancy by being absent from class without giving any justification. Students fail to attend classes because of uninteresting lessons, dislike of an instructor, fear of harassment, and lower expectations. Thus, student-initiated truancy is a result of a lack of enthusiasm for education. Psychology causes truancy among students. According to Chen et al. (2016), the psychological attitudes of students are determinants of their conclusion to go to school. Enomoto (2007) identifies that ignoring the needs of students declines their determination of attending classes. Motivating students is vital for their confidence, which facilitates their class turnout. Students who receive motivation from teachers tend to attend classes frequently. Apart from psychological problems, truancy causes physical and mental fitness problems. Behaviors of students depend on their mental state. Eventually, truants engage in abuse of drugs and substances hence dropping from school. DeSocio et al. (2007) display various psychological and physical issues that prompt school absenteeism in students. Researchers establish a relationship between family and students’ mental health condition. Boyce (2002) states psychological health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, hopelessness, anxiety, and drug abuse is a pointer of a developing complication. Henry and Yelkpieri (2017), implicates those who are likely to skip classes are drug abusers such as alcoholics. Truancy leads to devastating repercussions which need measures for regulation. Employing strategic interventions reduces cases of absenteeism among students.

Additionally, Henry and Yelkpieri (2017) state that students who smoke cigarette and marijuana at least once a month are likely to practice truancy. The opinion of students about themselves is essential. Interviews concerning the probability of truant students graduating from high school and attending College shows the relationship between perception and behavior. Lower understanding enhances skipping school while high knowledge lowers truancy. Students who do not comprehend affairs at schools tend to be absent in some classes. Active students participate in diverse issues of school hence minimizing their urge for engaging in truancy. 44.5% and 30% are truancy levels of students who gave answers like “probably won’t” graduate from high school and “definitely won’t” attend college respectively (Henry & Yelkpieri, 2017). Students who lack interest develop a negative attitude which favors the formation of truancy. In summary, Henry and Yelkpieri (2017) state that most students who commit high truancy levels drop out of school. Moreover, truants lack commitment and at all times, turn out to hold low ambitions and eventually become poor go-getters. Truancy leads to high levels of school dropping if not kept under supervision.

Chronic absenteeism results in a student dropping out of school. Chen et al. (2016) denote how truancy cases resulting in dropout rates are rampant in contemporary society. Chen et al. (2016) note that truancy rates are more significant in places with diverse racial disparity with low-income earners and have many high schools. Moreover, such areas encounter high rates of truancy, leading to high dropout rates. Mickelson (2018) states some regions experience more students dropping out of school than those advancing to college.

Furthermore, areas with high rates of truancy experience high crime rates leading to more imprisonment of population. Ekstrand (2015) states a relationship among high rates of law-breaking, truancy, and dropout rates. Truancy facilitates negative behaviors which relate to criminal activities and substance abuse. Drug abuse and mob activities are forms of crime in the study. Truant students later involve themselves in illegal activities such as hijacking, robbery, and sabotage leading to confinement in juveniles. Ninety-four percent of wrongdoers in minors in Rhode Island are truants from school (Ekstrand, 2015). A study by Dahl (2016) reveals that one of the ten male dropouts or one of the four black male dropouts ends up behind bars in the United States. Confinement results from truant students engaging in illegal activities that attract law enforcement.

The study by Holtes et al. (2015) reveals that the United States houses a higher fraction of its citizens than any other country across the world. The United States spends an average of roughly $20,000 per year on each convict. Additionally, the state spends about $9,391 per learner. Research shows how it is expensive to deal with repercussions of truancy like confinement. A study by Ekstrand (2015) of South Carolina’s high school shows how dropout cases are rampant. Dropout students contribute to more senior criminal activities. Research suggests that on graduating, students contribute to the economy immensely tallying to about $8 billion over their lifespan. Students who graduate end up participating in productive activities hence generate income. Educating students is beneficial to the state than detaining them since incarceration leads to more cost, which the nation incurs in the form of billions of dollars regarding lost earnings and foregone taxes. There exists a connection between truancy, dropping out, and imprisonment, which relates to the level of education (Ekstrand, 2015). High truancy rates lead to high illiteracy levels within prisons systems of the United States. People in prison lack information regarding social norms since they were absent in classes — students who drop out lack sufficient knowledge concerning essential aspects of life skills. A study by Ekstrand (2015) shows that 75% of Americans who go to jail are ignorant. Prisoners lack requisite knowledge for the application of particular skill and expertise. Most prisoners are students who drop out of school and eventually end up breaking the law — educating people results in a decline in crime rates.

Behaviorism Theory

Behaviorism theory focuses on a logical approach in comprehending behaviors of individuals. An assumption on which behaviorism theory relies is that people exhibit diverse personality in response to certain stimuli in their surroundings (Murtonen, Gruber, & Lehtinen, 2017). Moreover, behaviorism theory suggests that an individual’s state of punishment, reinforcement, and environments results in different behavior patterns. Research demonstrates how Inheritance determines actions which individuals display. Environmental factors play a vital role in modifying the manners of people. Integration of surroundings and prevalent conditions of parties greatly influences their personality.

The behaviorist theory considers various elements of methodology, philosophy, and psychological approaches. Pioneers advocate that psychological factors influence behavioral theory in the late 19th century. Mental condition and other psychological traits play an important role in enhancing behavior forms. Depth psychology and different sorts of consciousness experience troubles in coming up with testable predictions (Stoyanov, 2017). Creators of behaviorist theory include individuals like Edward Thorndike of the 19th century. Edward emphasizes strengthening peoples’ behavior using reinforcement (“John B. Watson,” 2016).

John B. Watson develops methodological behaviorism in the 20th century hence adding more information behaviorist theory. Methodological behaviorism by Watson enforces measurable conducts and events, therefore, declining prevailing introspective (“John B. Watson,” 2016). Factors affecting change in behaviors are quantifiable and are useful during the implementation of intervention strategies. In late 1930, B. F. Skinner entails thoughts and feelings as aspects influencing individual behavior hence leading to radical behaviorism. Emotional state and opinions of people change the conduct of people in a particular environment. Watson and Pavlov concentrate on stimulus responses in standard conditioning. Skinner focuses on nature controls as well as its consequences on past experiences which attributes to prevalent conditioning. Various aspects impacts on behaviors which individuals display in response to particular stimuli. Actions originate from the incorporation of dynamic forces inhabiting a specific atmosphere.

Experiments by Skinner on inventing radical behaviorism have been successful. Skinner perceives behaviorism theory by revealing that new phenomena cultivate after new methods (Day, 2016). Researchers classify radical behaviorism depending on past events and sensitivity towards stimuli (Murtonen, Gruber, & Lehtinen, 2017). Skinner uses rats and pigeons to display responses which are significant in the operating environment (Day, 2016). Behaviorism theory comprises of radical behaviorism which groups into applied behavior analysis, which facilitates analysis of truancy behavior among high school students. Practicable behavior analysis shares ideas with radical behaviorism and human-based psychology. Implementing applied behavior analysis in hampering drug abuse reduces truancy rates among high school students. Furthermore, applied behavior is essential in nurturing positive personalities at schools, thus preventing the development of abnormal actions among students (Stoyanov, 2017). Implementing applied behavior investigation facilitates the development of intervention strategies which hampers harmful activities like truancy among students.

Cognitive information processing

Also known as information processing, cognitive theory encompasses several theoretical perspectives that focus on order and execution of intellectual events. Cognitive theory majors on how individuals interact with surroundings, acquire knowledge, and store information for future reference (Lachman, Lachman, & Butterfield, 2015). Cognitive events require parties to use experience which they have been acquiring during normal conditions. The cognitive theory views learners as active seekers of knowledge and processing of data.

Moreover, the approach depends on the ability to remember information as a significant factor. The memory of students and community at large is the primary aspect attributing to cognitive information processing. Information processing theory emulates computer metaphors such as inputs and outputs and their response — cognitive theory majors on principal factors contributing to truancy in high school. Information processing theory studies the memory system as well as other processes such as attention, chunking, rehearsal, encoding, and retrieval that stores knowledge for transfer.

Sensory memory of cognitive information processing is responsible for holding information relating to hearing and vision senses. Short-term memory refers to short working memory for processing data for response and storage. Short-term memory contains little information for a shorter period. On the other hand, long-term memory stores data permanently. Long-term memory retains data for an indefinite duration of time (Siemens, 2014).

Information processing theory suggests processing of data in a chain of information flow. There is altering of information as it flows from one stage to the next. Nonetheless, processing of information does not generally flow in a single direction. For instance, expression in a sentence by an individual depends on existing and prior knowledge. Supervisory monitors processes and keeps track of information read by an individual. Prioritization of processing information occurs unconsciously and consciously. Instructions build on already existing knowledge of learners on a given topic hence proves to be irrelevant. Prior experience enables students to make viable decisions in current affairs. Truant students miss a lot since their flow of information is incomplete. Absenteeism underpins the ability of students to compare first-hand knowledge since they lose a lot when engaging in non-attendance of classes. Truancy in high school results to discriminatory where learners select and process particular information while ignoring others simultaneously. Truant students lack interest in specific sectors but pay attention to useless knowledge hence promoting discerning actions. Selective attention depends on aspects such as awareness, similarities in competing tasks, the complexity of events, and the ability of functions to control the devotion of students (Siemens, 2014). Truant students incorporate selective attention when making judgment fostering their involvement in illegal absence.

Truant students fail to recognize the importance of going to school. Students who engage in truancy make wrong decisions concerning the attendance of classes. Thus, they fail to prioritize schoolwork leading to truancy and absenteeism. Truant students experience hardships in acquiring and applying the knowledge that they learn in classrooms leading to rapid loss of information. Rehearsal is vital in storing information while encoding enables individuals to develop ideas and concepts. Truant students fail to prepare adequately for knowledge acquisition.

Moreover, the lack of knowledge among students engaging in absenteeism facilitates deficiency of creativity. Forms of encoding available include imagery, mnemonics, concept trees, hierarchies, outlines, groupings, and organizations. Students may also have problems with retrieving information from their long-term memories. Retrieval of data from the long-term memory requires recalling, recognition, and retrieval cues. Truancy among students favors high levels of illiteracy.

This dissertation will make use of the two theories, cognitive information processing and behaviorism in explaining the causes of absenteeism among high school students. Behaviorism theory focuses on comprehending truancy behavior among students while cognitive information processing theory focuses on psychological aspects that cause absenteeism. The two arguments apply throughout the paper to establish and create a comprehension of truancy behavior among high school students.

Review of Research Literature and Methodological Literature

The United States has been enacting mandatory school attendance laws which force students to avoid absenteeism over the past years. Enactment of compulsory attendance laws for schools takes place between 1852 and 1918. Moreover, free primary education from elementary school to secondary school occurs in this period; hence, historical (Atwood & Croll, 2015). Aspiration for universal education, immigrant socialization, and quality labor forces Government to adopt laws for the provision of free primary education (Breda, 2014). Government schools across the country lead other institutions with the sole purpose of educating children and imposing existing child labor laws. Government schools protect children in preparation for independence after graduating. These schools impart knowledge in generations resulting in higher standards of living of students during adult life. Vital knowledge which students acquire subsidizes in the delivery of efficient services. Students practice what they train in school by attaining positive impacts on society. Eventually, in 1918, every state within the United States embraces compulsory school attendance laws. Mandatory school attendance laws compel parents and guardians to admit a school-aged child to school and monitor their attendance (Yang & Ham, 2017). Parents have to ensure that their students don’t miss classes according to involuntary class attendance policies. Support from parents lowers truancy rates since students encounter supervision of their academic accomplishments and class inclusion. Laws focusing on mandatory school attendance deteriorates levels of truancy. Formulating rules and policies regarding class attendance force students to participate in school affairs actively.

The compulsory school attendance laws dictate that any child absent from school without giving a valid reason is engaging in truancy (Breda, 2014; Dahl, 2016). Mandatory school attendance laws define truancy as an unlawful absence of students from school without the consent of their parents or guardians. Unfortunately, some states don’t embrace compulsory school attendance laws. Students in countries that don’t have involuntary school attendance involve in activities resulting from their absenteeism in schools. Private schools, homeschoolers, schools for people with special needs, pregnant students, and those who attend schools, yet they are jobless have to endure compulsory school attendance laws (Breda, 2014). Some factors are inevitable since they impact in reasonable absenteeism of students. According to Yang and Hall (2017), sickness, loss of an immediate family member and emergency in families are legitimate explanations for absenteeism disregarding the location of schools in the United States of America. Additionally, uncontrollable situations, expulsion, health conditions of students and parents, and safety provide a valid motive for truancy. Unavoidable circumstances among students lead to truancy and absenteeism.

Schools accept exceptional circumstances such as the temporary assignment of duties, vacations, and other special events that lead to valid causes of absenteeism. Certain conditions force students to be absent from school. The difference in the interpretation of existing laws in states causes disparities in attendance laws across the United (Sahin, Arsven, &Kilic, 2016). Distinctions in formulating rules enhance the development of different measures for assessing class attendance. For instance, most districts within the United States determine absenteeism without permission per period basis, while others consider the entire day (Wilson, Rivers, & Schultz, 2016). Differing interpretation among schools makes it difficult to make comparisons of truancy rates across the country to establish the real causes of this vice. Data from the supervision of attendance is not compatible due to different assessment procedures that schools utilize hampering interventions requiring correlation.

Various states within the country adopt a general definition of truancy, thus providing them with a specific and deliberate approach in identifying truant youths (Cox, 2017). Lack of a standard truancy rate computation in schools contributes to states employing homogenize interpretations. Thus, according to Sahin, Arseven, and Kilic (2016), mild effects of truancy in government schools of the United States is due to the lack of a standard definition and intervention. Joint intervention policy assists in tackling rampant cases of absenteeism in Government schools. However, Breda (2014), denotes how a combined effort of parents, teachers, school management, and students steer in reducing truancy rates. Collective determination of community is significant in prohibiting truancy.

Teasley (2004) states how truancy levels decline through merging efforts of individuals giving rise to strategies and interventions. According to Zhang et al. (2007), the implementation of the Check and Connect program in government institutions results in successful interference of strategies such as behavioral, instructional, and community-based interventions. However, Henry and Yelkpieri (2017), identify family and instructional intervention strategies most convenient for combating truant behaviors. Households and guidelines which students encounter play an essential role in their actions. In the study by DeSocio et al. (2007), there was an introduction of a mentor intervention program to prohibit truancy. Mentors offer pieces of advice to students hence influencing their behavior in response to certain stimuli and surroundings. Reid (2006), indicates five intervention recommendations, namely School-Based Scheme (SBS). According to Reid (2006), SBS pilot applications were successful in schools in the United Kingdom. Reid (2006) concludes how schools and districts implement ABS due to its efficiency in hampering immoral behaviors. According to Nordahl (2013), truancy behaviors in schools deteriorate due to the integration of intervention strategies. The tremendous success in reduction of truancy among students emanates from the comprehensive effort of the community in establishing suitable prevention procedures.

Lehr, Sinclair, & Christenson (2004) indicates the use of direct instruction or instructional approach in various states leads to proper training in students. Lessons on direct instruction encourage practice technique in students. Students present in classes obtain critical knowledge through written scripts, rehearsal, and brief lessons which they eventually initiate applications. According to Zhang et al. (2007), instructional experiences impact tremendously in classes like math and reading where students can receive immediate feedback on committing an offense. Students who don’t comprehend essential aspects engage in asking instructors questions. Reinforcing mode of teaching influences the confidence of instructors in administering lessons on moral behavior to students hence leading to reduction of inappropriate conducts (Zhang et al., 2007). Teachers who provide support to students influence their behavior patterns since students feel contentment.

The use of instructional interventions encourages some of the regularly absent students through praise to attend school. However, this strategy alone cannot eradicate truancy in high schools. Instructional interventions provide physical support hence influencing the psychology of students. Moreover, it’s the best mode through which government and institutions tackle absenteeism. Students heed advice from people providing instructions enabling drop-in truancy levels. Interventions verified on a behavioral basis include Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and Positive Behavior Support (PBS). The Positive Behavior Support (PBS) incorporates various experimentally-proven practices with a lot of support from students who exhibit challenging behaviors. PBS provides support on a personal and worldwide basis (Zhang, 2007).

On the other hand, Functional Behavior Assessment is a more individual-based intervention in comparison to Positive Behavior Support. Functional Behavior Assessment involves the method of gathering information on the function of behaviors of students. Data enhances the proficiency of student’s self-management and manners support. Substantive Behavior Assessment process entails self-evaluation, self-monitoring, and positive reinforcement. Moreover, it teaches students to be accountable for their social behaviors and academic accomplishments. Functional Behavior Assessment and Positive Behavior Support strategists are vital in the provision of a paper trail of attendance of students. Employing Functional Behavior Assessment and Positive Behavior Support Strategies ensures students attend classes regularly since information on the significance of school attendance is readily available. Students deviate from truancy when they assess positive consequences that relate to frequent class attendance.

Community-based interventions such as the Truancy Reduction Demonstration Program (TRDP) and Abolish Chronic Truancy Now (ACT Now) are the best and most prevalent interventions in combating truancy. Furthermore, funds and strength of community facilitate community-based interventions. Families of truant students receive incentives from resources kitty propelling them to attend classes. Other community-based interventions include intensive family interventions, mentoring, case management, expanding police force, and use of welfare restriction in economic sanction (Henry & Yelkpieri, 2017). Zhang et al. (2007) delude that presenting incentives to students in the form of awards and maintaining follow up through communication increases class attendance. Communities play an essential role in ensuring most students don’t miss classes.

Lack of involvement from people like law enforcement, parents, social services, family, and juvenile courts leads to failure of community-based intervention. Thus, resulting in increasing truancy rates due to unavailability of intervention actions meant to hinder immoral behaviors. A valuable community invests in youths and tackles truancy menace. Check and Connect intervention strategy prevents dropping out of students and assists in many states of the United States to inspire learners to engage in academics until they graduate (Zhang et al., 2007). Students under Check and Connect focus in accomplishing good academic grades rather than dropping out. In the Check and Connect model, individuals monitor levels of student’s commitments daily. Students facilitate inclusion of various risk factors such as skipping classes, tardiness, absenteeism, detention, grades, suspension, and accrued credits.

Individuals promote an association of the respective student with their school and their participation in learning atmospheres. Check and Connect relies on follow up nature and students engagement in suitable events. Connect aspect entails intervening on risks affecting specific task given to students. Students who face certain risks connected with various preventive strategies which hinder an increase in truancy rates. Students provide regular feedback on their progress at school through information sharing and observing intervention. Individuals discuss with students concerning the benefits of attending classes in Check and Connect. Characters incorporate problem-solving strategies which analyze potential risks that students encounter at school — implementing problem-solving strategies like FBA gears strong relationships in adults and students hence reducing chronic absenteeism among students. Students who connect with adults tend to receive positive perspectives about going to school leading to waning in drop-out levels. Positive relationship influences students to make commitments to themselves and people who are significant to them. The connection between students and their parents dramatically impacts on students’ notion of attending classes.

Family set up, and household issues affect truancy rates in students (Henry &Yelkpieri, 2017). Thus, the intervention of family is essential when establishing causes of truancy. However, according to a study by DeSocio et al. (2007), inadequate information in family-based interventions and truancy levels comparisons exists. Therefore, DeSocio et al. initiate a mentoring program that aims at improving school attendance and consequently, the academic performance of students. DeSocio et al. operate on the assumption that students who don’t attend classes experience despair and separation hence gain from personal mentors who provide attention. Mentors impact personal care virtue in students, thus prompting students to halt from engaging in unfavorable behavior patterns. Her findings indicate that fostering adult mentors attributes to the positive relationship between students and schools due to the elimination of hopelessness and anxiety. Students engage in establishing strong relationships with adults whom they confide in with their feelings and situations (DeSocio et al., 2007). Adults guide students further impacting on the sense of belonging in the community among students. Students who establish positive relationships with adults usually attend classes due to the availability of support and guidance.

Reid (2006) identifies the School-Based Scheme (SBS) program, which combats truancy in schools in the United Kingdom. SBS has a long term strategic plan that overcomes truancy through the elimination of essential attendance troubles that students encounter. SBS composes of five distinct stages in which students engage. The first stage is where the students attend at least 92% of their classes. Students don’t require any support in this stage. The second stage entails sending an initial warning letter to guardians and parents indicating the importance of regular school attendance.

Moreover, parents’ responsibilities and consequences of guardians failing to fulfill their obligations are in the second stage. The third stage comprises of students with an average of 75 – 84% attendance. This stage requires parents to attend a panel consisting of key staff members of the school, such as principal, social worker, and performance director. The main agenda of this meeting focuses on the importance of consistent class attendance. This meeting formulates plans facilitating regular participation of students.

The fourth stage comprises of students with attendance report ranging between 65-74 percent. In this stage, students and their governors appear in the governor’s attendance panel. Governor’s attendance panel consists of governor of the school, principal, social worker, teacher, and performance director (Holtes et al., 2015). Primary agenda of this meeting focuses on discussing the importance of regular attendance and developing a strategy to help students attend school frequently. Parents and guardians receive a warning and notification regarding regular class attendance of their children. The fifth stage of the process comprises of students who have an attendance register of less than 65 percent. This stage requires students and their legal guardians to attend a Local Education Authorities Panel. The Local Education Authorities Panel is similar to the District’s board of Education in the United States (Holtes et al., 2015). Board members of the meeting oversee the likely causes leading to the nonattendance of students. The meeting adjourns with a final warning to students and their guardians.

Furthermore, students’ class attendance should be 100% for two months under the monitor. Dropping of students’ performance leads to disclosure of their information to relevant authorities such as Child Protective Services (CPS) for further disciplinary measures. Unfavorable performance from students implies the presence of immoral behavior that facilitates intervention. Reid (2006) examines schools in which the program was successful and notes an increase in class attendance of about 10% during its first year of implementation. Moreover, performance and attendance increases in schools which implement the program concerning schools that don’t apply the plan. Students who undergo strict supervision opt to accomplish higher grades due to high-class attendance. Disciplinary measures enforce high standards of conduct leading to students engaging in self-control hence undermining truancy and absenteeism. School-Based Scheme instills higher supervision standards that force students to participate in activities that uphold proper values and norms in society. Moreover, students who enroll in School-Based Scheme have a positive affiliation with excellent academic grades.

Review of the methodological findings

The existing literature explores various methodological approaches that define multiple causes of the truancy in high school students. The research suggests multiple applications and consequences of programs and interventions during the studies. Most of the literature review identifies parents’ participation, community cooperation, and school administration as critical aspects influencing truancy among students. Moreover, the use of incentives and supporting students to overcome psychological problems affects truancy among scholars. Attwood and Croll (2015) suggest an ongoing evaluation as relevant in each element of the control strategy. For intervention on absenteeism to be successful, assessment of each prevention strategy is critical.

Nonetheless, most of the studies that implement truancy reduction programs fail to provide details on challenges, evaluation, and outcomes. Truancy programs evaluation focuses on aggregate information, which, in the broader perspective, lacks meaningful comparison groups. Aggregate data relies on the short-term benefits of truancy programs like reduction in absenteeism, which provides inadequate information for assessing changes that may exist in the attendance record of an individual (Blackmon & Cain, 2015). Several factors affect class attendance. However, information determining the success of intervention programs is insufficient. Therefore, changes in class attendance need collection and valuation of diverse aspects to establish factors contributing to truancy.

Research by Henry and Yelkpieri (2017) shows truancy programs relies on also short-term benefits in a meta-analysis of intervention programs that the United States uses to address school dropping, which hinders completion of high school. However, the standards of research do not relate to meta-analysis. Thus, the conclusion of the study focuses on prevention of dropouts that result from truancy. The Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Preventions formulates laws that significantly impact a reduction of school absenteeism. The Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Preventions funds programs that combat truancy in high schools. Evaluation of truancy programs provides valuable lessons like delivering student support services in preventing absenteeism, widespread mentorship intervention, and community awareness (Henry & Yelkpieri, 2017). Various stakeholders have different roles in developing strategies meant to hamper truancy. Involving law enforcers such Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Preventions assists in formulating laws that hinder more cases of absenteeism.

Most communities embrace truancy intervention programs hence incorporating with individual members and their families. The government supports truancy programs by providing adequate resources for identifying, locating, and transitioning the truant youths in communities. Appropriate authorities use tactics like the involvement of the police, negotiation, and suspension of missing children. Nonetheless, Attwood and Croll (2015) report that some strategies have not been successful in resolving truancy in high schools. Most communities lack relevant intervention and assessment services for truant youths in spite of indication of existing psychological problems. Community-based programs require identifying and addressing issues that children and families encounter before ultimately introducing the truancy intervention programs. Government and communities involvement in establishing intervention programs enables parties to handle truancy menace. Furthermore, parties working on reducing truancy in the community need to integrate their efforts to acquire first-hand information that deliberates on forming many solutions.

On the other hand, school-based programs reduce absenteeism and truancy through enforcing of teacher-student interactions. Positive relationships between teachers and students lead to higher lesson attendance and excellent performance among students due to one on one interaction. Students solve their problems quickly with help from instructors. School-based programs introduce school-based health care eliminating sickness excuses from becoming a primary reason for truancy in most schools. Students who fall sick get urgent treatment while in school or outside school premises if need be. Combination of school-based and the community-based programs provides a concrete intervention that assists in the reduction of truancy rates immensely. However, such programs only target truant students disregarding students who attend school frequently. Students who attend school regularly do not qualify for school-based and community-based intervention programs since their personality is conducive according to guidelines. As a result, missing students improve their performance while regular attendees’ performance remains constant. Integration of school-based and community-based programs involves the referral of parents to a mental health agency for students whose performance does not improve. However, parents resist psychological health agency recommendation since it is against their rights. Parents decline the offer to visit mental health facilities because it undermines their personality. Failure of community and school-based programs facilitates legal action hence favoring the use of law enforcement based agendas. Results from implantation of court-found and law enforcement based plans show how truancy leads to criminal activities among students later in life. Employing legal action against truant students assists in fostering behaviors which diverge from criminal events.

Synthesis of the research findings

Truancy hampers students from accomplishing their life goals according to the literature review. Literature review establishes a direct connection between school attendance of students and their achievements later in life. Absenteeism translates to no learning. Thus, no knowledge acquisition for truant students resulting in poor performance. Missing students lack the requisite knowledge and skills for accomplishing goals through the qualification of various job opportunities. Studies reveal that most of the absent students who miss more than 50% of their classes always fail in government tests and hardly manage to get good grades. Students who are sometimes lacking in qualities do not afford to achieve high academic grades. The literature review identifies numerous factors contributing to truancy among high school students such as bad influences, lack of interest in school, poor relations, bullying, student’s matters, and family factors. Furthermore, factors that cause truancy classifies into student caused truancy, school caused truancy, family caused truancy and psychological truancy.

Students make friends with others from different backgrounds while at school. Sometimes friendship often extends terrible influences on their colleagues depending on their upbringing, making it a significant cause of truancy. Interactions among students facilitate the formation of divergent views resulting in students emulating what they believe is suitable among their peers. Truant behavior can be a successful factor in relationships that upholds particular beliefs. Students who become missing as a result of lousy guidance often view truanting as a new act that can raise their status among peers. For quick acceptance in a given social group, students practice truancy. Sense of belonging many impacts on student behavior patterns. Thus, truancy prevention requires the implementation of programs and interventions. Most schools often opt for punishment such as the temporary or permanent exclusion of the student from school. However, Chen et al. (2016) mention that it is administering punishment on students further worsens truant behavior. Ekstrand (2015) suggests that establishing behavioral patterns ensures permanent abolition of a specific practice among students. Employing policies and activities that encourage upholding moral standards among students hampers truancy from intensifying. Involving students in sports helps in curbing absenteeism, especially in lousy scenarios. According to Parrish (2015), participating in sports such as soccer is useful since it makes students star on pitch. Students participating in sports encounter contentment when making judgment thus dropping on truant cases. Team games where students regularly participate in encourages students to attend school regularly. Through motivation available in teams, students gauge the confidence of attending school games hence improving in-class attendance.

Review in literature identifies a lack of interest in school as a cause of truancy. Most students don’t attend classes regularly since they are aware of what they want to engage in after completion of school. Students lose attachment to school affairs since they experience boredom resulting in truancy. Thus, they often prefer hanging out with their friends. Dahl (2016) suggests the introduction of lesson plans in schools which emphasizes the importance of acquiring skills and utilizing them beyond classrooms. Truancy results from poor relations at school. Truant students often evade going to school due to their unfortunate associations with their fellow students and teachers.

On the contrary, some teachers have the best interest of students at heart. However, students see teachers as arrogant and bullying. Positive relationships impacts on an optimistic attitude of students leading to moral upright among students who tend to engage in regular class attendance.

Mestry (2015) suggests that re-timetabling of students assists in solving a split relationship between students and teachers when students don’t work with the teacher under consideration. Peaceful pact ensues between students and instructors when learners undergo re-timetabling. School administration sets up a team meant to handle cases of bullying hence promoting safety among learners. Management upholds the protection of students by administering punishment on bullies. School management and community appoint personal mentors to enable students to share their problems hence avoiding truancy. Parents and guardians of the students uphold their responsibility in ensuring that children attend school frequently. Henry and Yelkpieri (2017) suggest that parents should not condone some reasons like unofficial holidays that makes students truant. Enforcing parent’s evening in which school emphasizes on the importance of regular class attendance and implications of being absent resolves parents caused truancy. Parents’ involvement in school affairs of their children stimulates suitable prevention intervention against absenteeism.

Critique of the previous research

The existing studies on truancy groups the behavior into four major categories. These categories include student-specific variables, family-specific settings, school-specific factors, and community influenced variables (Jaafar et al., 2013; Monahan et al., 2014). These studies introduce various interventions and programs which addresses truancy conducts among students. However, these interventions and programs focus in particular areas. Most of the literature reviews that truancy menace exists only in schools. The literature does not consider current allegations that have become a topic of argument in various forums. Forums suggest using simplistic thoughts and severe limitations to comprehend how truant behaviors develop in children and exhibit later in life. According to Ingul and Nordahl (2013), simplistic thinking through which children develop truant behaviors provides a solution to truant behaviors in schools and the juvenile justice system. Many factors attribute to school truancy (Breda, 2015; Maynard, 2016; Yang & Ham, 2017). The various factors that correlate to absenteeism have diverse causes and repercussions according to the literature review. Truancy traits among students are transferable through interactions. Interaction leads to the accordance of support from family, acquisition of experience, and creates a community atmosphere.

Previous research identifies four similar categories of truancy, including family, school, student, and community-level factors. Each of these factors is common since they have a variety of connection between aspects. The elements also reveal a mixture of characters which facilitates their success in explaining the incidences of truancy in high schools. Research by Ekstrand (2015) specifies that truancy initiates with both short and long-term challenges for the students who are prone to avoiding schools. These challenges not only affect students but also extends to their families, school, and the societies from which these students hail.

Nonetheless, Chen et al. (2016) suggest that students portray truant behaviors emanating from more profound problems, thus require the intervention of community members. Chen et al. (2016) identify that intervention by educators who embrace missing students assists family, school, and community in creating one on one relationship with students. Furthermore, a response by instructors makes students to disclose their difficulties. According to Dahl (2016), embracing truant students is essential in comprehending the level of implications brought about by truant traits.

The consequences of embracing the truant students also lead to various impacts on each truancy category. Chen et al. (2016) argue that in the first category of individual-specific outcomes, consequences group into short and long-term. Havik, Bru, and Ertesvag (2015) mention that most of the students who display truant behaviors lack ambition in life and expect much for their future. Thus, short and long-term consequences may not have any adverse effects on them. For students who might not have lost hope in their future, the most visible and immediate impact of truancy will always be on their education. Students accomplish poor performance due to lower class attendance, thus missing a lot of information (McNulty, 2016). Failures in education negatively affect occupation. Truancy persists in students leading to employment-related complications like high unemployment rates, less stable patterns in career, lower status in their professions, and weak earnings in their adult lives. Blackmon and Cain (2015) argue that truant students change due to their lazy nature hence employ the simplest and the best solutions to their problems. Missing people do their best to retain their job while giving their best during the times when they are available.

Mazerolle et al. (2017), argues that chronically truant students may always experience a variety of future relational difficulties, which may include those that form during the early stages of childcare. Missing students tend to produce a higher number of dependents leading to first marriages and consequently, a series of problems leading to marital breakdowns. Mijinyawa, Bakar, and Muhammad (2015) highlight poor health as an adverse adult outcome of chronic truancy. Chronically truant students suffer from poor psychological health during their adult stages of life due to some student caused the effects of truancy such as drug abuse. Gentle-Genitty et al. (2015) mention that chronic absenteeism leads to rehabilitation. There exists a variety of actions against the students who become truant due to substance abuse. Most of the substance abuse cases are a result of the peer pressure in their quest to be popular in school. Students also turn to drugs to relieve themselves of the painful feelings that emanate from family structures and bullying in school surroundings. Truant students are known to be poor performers in school. They turn to drug abuse and study aid drugs such as Ritalin to help them boost their performances and grades as a remedy (Virtanen et al., 2014). Moreover, students who use drugs tend to be deviant and anti-social. The personality of students who abuse substances usually has immediate results of behaviors that associate with truancy and leads to adult criminal activities.

Blackmon and Cain (2015) argue that truancy has direct impacts on educational institutions leading to loss of returns. The authors argue that school loses revenue due to a reduction in school funding from daily attendance rates of students. However, there exist laws which schools exploit to ensure every student attends classes (Solakoglu & Orak, 2016). Existing literature provides various programs and interventions which schools explore to ensure every student is present regularly. Loss of revenues in educational institutions is disastrous since it reduces the capacity of the institution to meet the educational requirements of students through service provision. Furthermore, it affects each student within the institution, regardless of his or her attendance record. Therefore, truancy results in devastating effects if no preventive intervention is made in advance.


This chapter reviews the existing literature on high school truancy. It introduces truancy and defines it as an intentional, unauthorized, unjustified, as well as the unauthorized absence of an individual from compulsory education. It also identifies the adverse physical, social, as well as the psychological effects of truancy on the students, which in turn affects their development. In this chapter, truancy emanates from school, teachers, student, and community, including parents. Existing relationships between teachers and students affect students’ behaviors hence causing School sourced absenteeism. The teacher sourced absenteeism comes about as a result of the critical nature of the teachers who always have high expectations for their students resulting in absenteeism. Students can also instate their truancy by being absent from class without giving any excuse. Parent sourced truancy has various causes such as parenting styles, a divorce of parents, and the breakdown of parents, which contributes to the behaviors of children. Absenteeism among students attributes from climate within the school, size of the school, size of classes, attitudes, discipline policy within a school, and the ability of the school to meet the diverse needs of every student. According to Henry and Yelkpieri (2017), the background of the student and other family-related issues that students often encounter are significant illustrations of truancy.

Critical elements vital for effective programming and control of truancy among students include involvement of parents, use of incentives, support, collaboration within the community, and active participation of the school administration. Various programs and interventions can be put in place by government, community, and schools to ensure students have regular attendance. This chapter reviews case studies, including the implementation of truancy programs and analyses results. Literature review reveals that most communities embrace truancy prevention programs and interventions and make them sanctions to youths and their families.

Chapter 3: Methodology


School administrators in secondary schools are worried about students who are chronically absent from school. Many wonder what keeps students away from school while trying to understand what they can do to get students in school consistently (Liu & Loeb, 2016).  Most work on the assumption that things such as low socioeconomic status, parent non-interest in education, and suffering from parental abuse are reasons to miss school (Jacob & Lovett, 2017).  However, the need to be absent may come from another source within the walls of the school in the form of bullying or lacking social support (Kelly, n.d.).

Bullying is a problem that is hard to discover and to verify unless someone else is witnessing, it is also difficult to correctly measure its extent in schools according to (Smith, 2014).  Not only is there difficulty in determining if bullying occurs, but as an administrator, it is problematic because of trying to discipline the individual (Rigby, 2011).  Additionally, according to Smith (2014) administrators may think they understand what effects bullying has on students, even they may not be sure. Bullied students may also experience other effects such as lacking social friendships (Tariq & Tayyab, 2011).

Students who lack social support in school may feel isolated or are loners, are not interested in attending school to escape the isolation (Dahl, 2016). Administrators tend to assume when students struggle to have friends, they are less likely to want to attend school. While this study will not argue that bullying or a lack of social support causes students to miss school more frequently, its purpose is to measure whether a relationship occurs.

In this research paper, there will be the use of a correlational design, data collection techniques, and analysis processes to answer the research questions. In every study, there are essential tools that are needed to facilitate the outcome of accurate information. This research methodology covers different sections including the formulation of the research questions, identification of the research design, identification of research population and the description of the research instrumentation (Creswell, 2014). Additionally, there will be an incorporation of procedures involved in the data collection processes. In every quantitative research, the process of data analysis is important as it enables the researcher to answer the research questions by carrying out tests of a hypothesis (Sedgwick, 2014). Data analysis will be discussed based on the types of data collected. Some tests that will be undertaken include Pearson correlational assumptions and the normality assumptions. Chapter three, therefore, outlines the data collection processes and analysis with the aim of answering the research questions.

Test for Assumption for a Pearson Correlation

The most popular way of defining random events is normal distribution. The processes fit normal distribution because the two graphs are bell-shape single peaks (their means). They are symmetrical that implies that the occurrence probabilities of the two values equidistant from the means, but on their different sides are the same. Most of the values are between -1 and +1 from the mean, it is one standard deviation. In almost all of the processes there are virtually no observations farther than three standard deviations from the mean and there are no farther than two standard deviations from the mean. The assumptions behind Pearson Correlation Coefficient are forgotten given its simplicity. The Coefficient of Pearson may not be appropriate and therefore it is significant to make sure that the assumptions hold. The requirements and assumptions for computing Correlation Coefficient of Pearson are normality, linearity, and continuous variables. Normality implies that the sets of data should correlate to the estimate of the normal distribution. Most data points tend to drift close to the mean in such normally distributed data. Linearity simply implies that data the relationships between variables are linear. This can be again explored by plotting the scatter diagram. If the data fulfills the assumption of linearity, then the data points a straight-line relationships but not a curve.

Purpose of the Proposed Study

The purpose of this investigative study is to determine whether a relationship exists between bullying and absenteeism in school students of age 18 and above within rural settings. Also, the study attempts to establish the relationship between peer social support and absenteeism among students of age 18 and above within rural settings.

One of many responsibilities of a high school administrator, that encumbers several hours weekly is student attendance. Likewise, time is spent on disciplining aggressive behaviors (bullying) from students directed at other students. It is the desire of the researcher to determine if there is a relationship between the bullying and students missing school. Furthermore, generally speaking, students that are victims of bullying have common characteristics, one being a loner with limited peer social support. With the knowledge that students may lack peer social support, the researcher intends to determine if there is a relationship between the amount of peer social support and student absences.

Research Questions

For this study, the researcher strived to establish relationships between the predictor variables (amount of bullying and amount of peer social support) and the criterion variable (school absences). The research questions are aligned with the behaviorism theory through evidence that the exhibiting of students’ behaviors result from flexes from the responses of certain stimuli in their environment (Murtonen, Gruber, & Lehtinen, 2017).

The following research questions and hypotheses guided the correlational study are:

  1. To what extent is there a relationship between peer social support and school absences?
  2. To what extent is there a relationship between being bullied and school absences?


H01: There is no significant relationship between peer social support and school absences.

HA1: There is a significant relationship between peer social support and school absences.

H02: There is no significant relationship between being bullied and school absences.

HA2: There is a significant relationship between being bullied and school absences.

Research Design

The study is quantitative and specifically takes on correlational research design to be utilized as a data collection strategy (Creswell, 2014). The study aims to establish the relationship between bullying and school absences as well as peer social support and school absences. Correlational research is a non-experimental technique in which researchers measure two variables (predictor and criterion), understands them and then assesses the statistical relationship that exists among the variables. The researcher is not concerned with the cause and effect of the variables, so the correlational design is an obvious choice. Every school in the rural setting has its climate, culture, and demographic makeup which makes it possible that in addition to bullying and peer social relations, other variables could influence student’s attendance. However, the researcher does not make attempts to account for extraneous factors since it is a correlational study. The advantage of a correlational design is that it measures two variables and evaluates the statistical connection (i.e., the correlation) between them mostly with minimal effort or none at all in the control of extraneous variables (Crawford, 2014).

On the other hand, the researcher decided against using the causal – comparative research design because causal –- comparative design compares two or more groups (Groves, n.d.).  Additionally, as Groves (n.d.) stated, this type of research design usually works with a situation that previously materialized. Causal –- comparative is also known as “ex post facto”, which is translated as “after the fact”. Lastly, while the correlational study tries to determine a relationship, the causal-comparative design tries to determine cause and effect. In this instance, the researcher is not interested in cause and effect (Groves, n.d.,).

For analysis, the study looks forward to statistical analysis since it needs to produce statistics that can indicate the relationships and significance of predictor and criterion variables. There is one part of data analysis to be included in the study which aims to comprehend the relationships between the variables in the study. The researcher will examine correlations among three variables: bullying, school absences, and peer social support. Data shall be collected using questionnaires that include questions depending on the two research questions which are: to what extent is there a relationship between the amount of peer social support and school absences and, to what extent is there a relationship between the amount of bulling and school absences. Selection of samples for the study population will be through a sampling of three rural high schools and purposive selection of participants to reach only those students that fall under the categories required. It is important to note that the researcher and each school reside within The Commonwealth of Virginia, that the researcher works in one of the high schools in the County and each participant will have an equal chance of being part of the sampled schools. The study needs respondents that are secondary school students who are 18 years and over and are still in school.

Target Population, Sampling Method and Related Procedures

The participants for this study will be students (aged 18 years and above) drawn from three of four different rural secondary high schools, all from a Virginia school district. Presently, there are 338 students that fit the characteristics of participation. To facilitate smooth data collection, the participants in the study will have the right to refuse to take part without any consequence if they wish. After identifying the study population, the next thing is selecting a sample of participants. A sample implies a small group from the entire population that is studied (Van Voorhis & Morgan, 2007) and is selected through a specific technique (Muthén, & Muthén, 2002). Notably, eligible participants for this study are those students that are 18 years and above, still schooling and in a rural setting. All who meet these requirements and attend one of the three county schools shall be considered for inclusion in the sample.

One week before the survey, the researcher will be in constant communication with school administrators of the three schools as the date for survey draws nearer. The school administrators will act as the researcher’s contact persons in the respective schools. This will be intended to ensure any changes in terms of time, schedule, venue, and shortlisted participants are shared between the researcher and the school administrators.

The study is a survey and needs statistical analysis. The total number of students aged 18 years and above from three secondary schools located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is 338 at present. Based on that knowledge, the researcher wanted to find out how many participants are required to get results that represent the target population. By use of a sample calculator (https://www.qualtrics.com) with 80% level of confidence and a margin error of 5%, the ideal sample size will be 84 students (participants). In fact, in research, it is advisable to have a sample size that is ideal to reach reliable conclusions and recommendations that are easily generalizable (Welman, Kruger, & Mitchel, 2005). Thus, this sample is suitable for the correlational study and can aid in reaching concrete results and conclusions.



The study will use the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ) a self-report instrument which is a standardized, legalized, multiple-choice survey structured to assess some issues related to bullying challenges in schools. The questionnaire which is comprised of 42 questions (many of them being sub-questions) is usually used with students of varied grades (Olweus, n.d) including secondary schools, meaning it is ideal for the current study. Students usually fill in the OBQ anonymously; this means the identity of participants of the current study will remain anonymous. The OBQ which is accessible on https://www.qualtrics.com has a number of unique characteristics that will enable the researcher to collect relevant data as much as possible. These characteristics include:

  • A full definition of bullying so participants have a better understanding of how they should answer the questions.
  • A majority of the questions mention a particular period or reference time, such as “the past couple of months (after the summer/winter holiday vacation)”. This technique is believed to be an ideal duration of time for participants to recall their past experiences.
  • The response options are designed to be as specific as possible by making use of terms like “2 or 3 times a month” and “about once a week”. Response terms are meant to discourage subjective phrases like “often” and “fairly often”, which are likely to be understood differently by participating students.
  • Other than being asked two broad questions (Questions 4 and 24 in the OBQ) on being a victim of bullying and being a bully, the OBQ will also ask participants corresponding questions (Questions 5-12a) on specific types of bullying (about being bullied) and also on bullying others (Questions 25 to 32a in the OBQ).
  • The OBQ will ask straightforward questions on students’ demographics (gender, sex, ethnicity, and the school the participant attends).

The study will also use another essential instrument known as Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS) which is a “60-item self-report rating scale that measures perceived social support for children in grades 3 through 12” (Menon & Demaray, 2013, p.50), an ideal instrument to rate the current study’s participants. CASSS assess four kinds of identified support (appraisal, emotional, informational, and instrumental) which corresponds to five different sources: parents, classmates, teachers, and close friends (Malecki, Denaray, Elliott, & Nolten, 2000).

In creating CASSS, participants will be asked to read a provided statement and input their response on a scale on whether they feel that they get that support. The development of the CASSS will allow the researcher to have a complete insight of the participants’ social support and allow the researcher to desist from looking at social support as a general term for a comprehensive and complex concept.

Gaining permission from the author of the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire the researcher sent an email describing the research and the desire to use the OBQ in search of the intended relationship.  Additionally, the researcher contacted the authors of the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS) by email. Once again the researchers described the research study and how the CASSS will be used to provide statistical information to help with the relationship questions. Permission to administer these questionnaires to high school students shall be sought from school administrators and students (Manson, 2002). A letter describing the intent of the research and the process of how the research is conducted is provided to each student that fits the participant criteria. Each participant has the opportunity to deny or accept the terms in which to participate. Furthermore, the researcher will need to submit a request to the Assistant Superintendent for Rockingham County for permission to enlist the students in the study. The Assistant Superintendent has requested the completed IRB application to assess whether to approve or deny permission. At the conclusion of this research, a brief description of the results will be forwarded to reviewers. The second instrument (Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale) will be utilized in this project to identify the influence of peer social support on the level of school attendance among the secondary school students of ages 18 and above. The questions in this survey relate to how these students feel regarding the treatment they receive from their peers. Items shall be recorded with scales and entered into SPSS to find correlations between the datasets attained from the collected data.

The two instruments (OBQ and CASSS) have been used previously in different studies and produced reliable findings. For example, Kyriakides, Kaloyirou and Lindsay (2006) reported that OBQ “has satisfactory psychometric properties; namely, construct validity and reliability” (p.781) while on their part, Cullum and Mayo (2015) reported that “the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS) for Healthy Behaviors, demonstrates adequate initial reliability and validity” (p.198). According to Mathers, Fox, and Hunn (2007), questionnaire surveys are the best tools for collecting quantitative data in research. Thus, selecting to use OBQ and CASSS survey instruments is because they are capable of producing the best quantitative data for this study.

Data Collection

On the day of the survey, two sets of surveys (OBQ and CASSS) will be administered to collect demographic data such as average days missed per month, gender, ethnicity, and age. After providing the informed consent to the participants, these two instruments will have cover pages that have an information letter on the purpose of the study and a statement that informs the respondents that by filling in and returning the survey, they have given their informed consent. As mentioned earlier, the OBQ is designed in a way that makes the questions to be as simple and straightforward as possible for the respondents. The instrument is also designed to provide relevant, reliable, and valid data. The OBQ will be administered to selected schools during school hours in the presence of one representative from each of the three participating schools. The administration of the OBQ will be done in groups of ten students. The OBQ will be administered to the students. Separate scales will be created consisting of (i) The items of the OBQ related to the amount of bullying on victims and (ii) those related to the magnitude to which students express bullying characters. Both scales will have analyzed for reliability and validity. They will also be analyzed separately for boys and girls to examine their invariance.

All selected students will be provided a separate room from the other non-participating students to avoid any potential interference to complete the questionnaires. The entire exercise for each school will take 30 to 50 minutes. The researcher, with school representative’s help, will note any strange happenings during the administration of the survey and if any issue is identified, it will be documented and be emailed to the researcher. It is normal for non-response bias (assuming some of the participants will not respond or fail to turn up) to occur in studies similar to the current one. To avoid non-response bias, the researcher will extend the survey collection period to two days so that the students can choose any of the two days to respond based on their lessons schedule. All students attending the three Virginia high schools are provided a Chromebook to use during their school years. Two links, one for each survey is provided on respondents Chromebook for them to complete the surveys. After completion of the survey exercise, the completed answers are collected through Survey Monkey.

The instrument items for measuring the level of absenteeism among the students (victims) that have been bullied include response items of school days missed or attended in the entire term. The responses will be arranged regarding the number of days they have been absent from school this year. If days are missed because a student believes they will be bullied or if they come to school because they are not getting bullied will provide answers to the research questions.

Operationalization of Variables

Demographics: For the entire study, age will be a significant factor such that all participants must be of age 18 or above. Those that do not make it to the age limit are excluded from the study (Dillman, Smyth, & Christian, 2014). In addition, school students and the schools selected will be from a rural setting

Peer social support levels: In the current context, social support will be defined as the student’s beliefs that he or she is cared for, appreciated, and respected by those belonging to his or her social setup, that boosts personal wellbeing, helps him or her inadequately managing stressors, and could protect him or her from unfavorable incidents. With that understanding, the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS) items will include statements detailing supportive behaviors like “My friend(s) appreciate me”. Respondents will be asked to read every single statement and specify their response by ranking the item regarding frequency and importance. For example, frequency scores will be rated based on a 4-point Likert scale whereby 1 = Never and 4 = Always. Importance scores will be rated based on a 3-point Likert scale whereby 1 = Not Important and 3 = Very Important. As mentioned earlier, each of the five subscales on the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale will correspond to one of the social support sources (parent, classmates, a close friend, teacher, and school).

Each subscale will have 12 items that will assess the four types of social support (appraisal, emotional, informational, and instrumental). To find the frequency scores for every single subscale, the researcher will add the frequency ratings for each one of the 12 items under that subscale. By adding up, all five frequency subscale scores will give the researcher the Total Frequency score. Likewise, importance ratings for every single subscale is obtained by adding up the importance scores for the 12 items under every subscale. The added subscale importance ratings will be added to obtain the Total Importance score.

Data Analysis Procedures

The study will utilize correlational analyses for examining the relationships that exist among variables, and to apply various predictors (peer social support and bullying) for the outcome (attendance). SPSS for windows will be used for statistical analysis of the data in this study (Sedgwick, 2014). Before conducting the correlation analyses, data will be assessed against the assumptions of the Pearson correlation tests to see if they conform to them. In the first place, boxplots for every variable shall be formulated to understand the data and detect outliers which will be examined and dealt with appropriately. Second, normality tests for each variable shall be conducted as well as evaluation of kurtosis and skewness (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2013).

In the case of multivariate comparisons, scatterplots shall be generated for pairwise variable combinations. Every scatterplot will be examined for outliers and to confirm if the relationship between the two variables is showing linearity and the variance across the measures. After computation of the correlation matrix, bivariate correlations will be checked for the likelihood of forming multicollinearity issues during the regressions (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2013).

A correlational analysis will be done in that Pearson product correlation tests are calculated to assess the direction and strength of relationships existing between all variables. Correlation matrix will be developed to display the different correlation coefficients for every variable in the study. This information will be recorded in tables for purposes of the audience of this study.

Limitations and Delimitations of the Research Design

Limitations: Similar to a majority of studies, this study design has its limitations. The study is a quantitative study and thus requires an extensive sample (Creswell, 2014). However, regardless of the benefits of extensive studies, the large sample size is likely to magnify the bias linked to error emanating from sampling or study design (Kaplan, Chambers & Glasgow, 2014); therefore, this study will include 84 respondents. Other limitations on sample size are due to constraints of time and resources to engage a more extended sample. Larger samples mean more time for administering instruments and increased sums of questionnaires for distribution. Since the instruments used in this study entail self-reporting (questionnaires), a few cases of data cleaning may arise particularly in cases where one or two participants choose only to answer four or five survey questions, then such participant(s) will not positively contribute much and therefore may need to be excluded from the data set.

This study will use purposive sampling that creates a limitation of possible bias. For each survey, sampling techniques that are favorable are required to eliminate tendencies of bias. Šimundić (2013) provided that choosing a sample requires researchers to apply a method which may lead to bias-free participant samples since this can influence the findings of a project. The purposive sampling techniques are most of the time a breeding ground for research bias since it might encourage predetermination of results and conclusions. Conversely, this limitation will be eliminated by requesting the school administrators of the respective schools to select the respondents randomly as long as they meet the minimum age requirement while ensuring gender and ethnicity balance to avoid tendencies of researcher biases.

Delimitations: The delimitations of this design rotate around the topic as well as research questions. The topic of this study takes a context that has been of great concern in the U.S rural schools. This research project brings on something of such significance, and this becomes one boost for the study to run smoothly. The schools selected are those that have faced this challenge and need to find workable solutions for the matter. Therefore, truancy is a critical issue in a rural setting especially among older students, selection of schools that fall under this category and face the challenge was the best thing to do.

More so, the decision to conduct a quantitative survey with questionnaires as tools will help in extracting statistical data relevant for finding correlations among the variables (Dillman et al., 2014). The research questions could not have a better response than using questionnaire survey methods to get descriptive statistics of students who have experienced bullying and less social support for peers. Since the research questions are projected towards finding relationships between bullying, peer social support and school absences; victims will become the central focus. This decision is taken in a bid to help this vulnerable portion of students to have a productive and favorable learning environment.

Validity: Through previous studies, the validity of both OBQ according to Kyriakides et al. (2006) and CASSS according to Cullum and Mayo (2015) has been confirmed. This implies that the instruments will be administered with the knowledge that they meet acceptable standards and have the ability to collect the required data. As Manson (2002) mentioned, using instruments that have been tested improves the quality of data collected and ensures significantly reliable results and conclusions.

The validity of instruments consists of how correctly the evidence acquired represents the research variables. Reliability refers to the level to which instruments of the study generates consistent data or results after repetitive tests to create its reliability. The instrument validity was developed by supervisor of study reviewing the research. The questionnaire was pre-tried on a pilot scale via chosen participants outside the area of research to ensure reliability. The pre-testing objectives enabled for alteration of different questions to clear up, rephrase, and clarify any limitations in questionnaire before delivering them to the real respondents. The methods of quantitative studies rely on the components of reliability, validity, and objectivity in ensuring the research data trustworthiness. The credibility was created via members checking, repetitive observations, prolonged involvement and participation, debriefing of peer, and triangulation. Transferability was developed via a detailed research explanation. The process of audit enabled the researcher to establish confirmability and dependability.

Expected Findings

The study expectations are to find a substantial relationship between bullying and absenteeism and social support and absenteeism among secondary school students that are 18 and above. The researcher expects to effectively respond to the questions related to whether (1) to what extent is there a relationship between the amount of peer social support and the number of school absences? Also, (2) to what extent is there a relationship between amount of bullying and the number of school absences?

The researcher strongly believes there is a significant relationship between peer social support and the number of school absences by students, an observation verified through some studies (Rothon, Head, Klineberg, & Stansfeld, 2011; Stamm, 2007, September; Wallace, 2017). It is from this belief that the researcher expects results that point to peer social support as a factor that could help reduce chronic truancy among K-12 secondary school students.

Additionally, the researcher believes there is a significant relationship between some amount of bullying and the number of school absences by the victims above the age of 18 in a rural setting. Previous studies (Dunne, Bosumtwi-Sam, Sabates, & Owusu, 2010; Gaukler, 2015; Grinshteyn & Tony Yang, 2017) have produced findings indicating there is indeed a relationship between being bullied in school and absenteeism.

Ethical Issues in the Proposed Study

The researcher will receive an introductory letter from the university department of attachment, and this will be used to get to the field. The researcher will then obtain approvals from both the school administrations and school district before the actual data collection process. Formal applications will be sent to the schools requesting for permission to use their school and students as part of the study. Manson (2002) recommended that researchers get a consent form educational authority to take on a study project in a specified area of operation. This will enable the research to be conducted in an acceptable manner to both the researcher and the population.

In conclusion, chapter three is to act as a blueprint of how the correlational survey will be conducted. It provides a procedural structure of how data will be collected or generated and analyzed in this study. This chapter gives shape to the sample selection, data collection and generation, and data analysis as will be used in the chapters that follow to aid the arrival at firm conclusions and recommendations of the study.




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