Forskningstema: Care services
Forskere på Fafo: Anne Kielland
School refusal is an increasing concern in the Nordic countries. In Norway, public recommendations to combat school refusal sometimes include making life at home less desirable, which reflects the notion that children choose to stay at home out of convenience. However, the mechanisms behind absenteeism are not trivial. A largely unaddressed topic is the compatibility of Nordic mainstream schools for students with neurodevelopmental or psychological diagnoses. This paper supports King and Bernstein’s definition of school refusal as related mainly to anxiety and emotional discomfort. We ask: Are there school-related differences between different groups of students who struggle with school refusal? The paper discusses the results of a web-based survey that included 256 guardians of children with substantial undocumented school absences. We found school-related differences between students with ADHD, autism, and psychological challenges and students without diagnoses who also struggle with school refusal. Compared to students without a diagnosis, autistic students strived socially more and had higher risk of being without friends at school, and students with ADHD were more exposed to bullying, strived socially more, and fewer of them had good relations to the teachers.