Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Name

Education Specialist (Ed.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Jose Castillo, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amber Humm-Brundage, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.


absent, education, low attending, youth


Many students in secondary schools are increasingly impacted by chronic absenteeism. Researchers have consistently concluded that students who are chronically absent are likely to experience negative outcomes such as difficulties in academic achievement, learning, sociability, and mental health (London, Sanchez, & Castrechini, 2016). However, despite the implications of chronic absenteeism, research studies that primarily focus on assessing students with disabilities’ (SWDs) reasons for chronic absenteeism are relatively limited. Although there is some existing research that suggests that SWDs are frequently absent due to health-related reasons, transportation issues, and their perceptions of poor school climate (Erbstein, 2014; Humm-Brundage, Castillo, & Batsche, 2017), there are currently no studies that have examined both student and school demographic predictors of chronic absenteeism for SWDs. The current study utilized a sample of 1,009 chronically absent SWDs across eight states in the U.S. to examine demographic predictors of reasons for chronic absenteeism among SWDs. The researcher examined students’ responses to the Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism (RCA) survey. Results indicated that SWDs reported missing school for health-related reasons most frequently, followed by family and transportation reasons. Results also suggested that SWDs’ SES, gender, and race/ethnicity were the most common demographic predictors of reasons for chronic absenteeism. Specifically, students who were lower SES significantly predicted Barriers, Disengagement, and Transportation reasons for chronic absenteeism. Students’ gender significantly predicted Barriers, Disengagement and Health reasons, and SWDs race/ethnicity significantly predicted Barriers, Health, and Transportation reasons for chronic absenteeism. School demographic predictors of chronic absenteeism were limited with schools’ percentage of English Language Learners being the only significant predictor of the reasons for chronic absenteeism. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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