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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Ashton Trice

Tammy Gilligan

Debi Kipps-Vaughan

Abstract

Truancy is the most predictive factor of dropout when controlling for low expectations and poor grades (Whelage & Rutter, 1986). Previous studies have found that students who participate in truancy have fewer positive relationships in the school, with both peers and teachers, (Lund, 2014), have less guardian involvement (Lund, 2014; Studsrod & Bru, 2011), and have less of ability regulating their emotions (Kim & Page, 2012). It has also been identified that the transition from middle school to high school is a tipping point for truancy and dropout behavior (Mizelle & Irvin, 2000). Very few studies have specifically focused on a rural environment, therefore this study specifically looks at a rural environment. Freshmen students who participate in truancy, as well as those who do not, were interviewed and filled out a BRIEF-2, which looks at executive functioning, including emotion regulation. Questionnaires and parent versions of the BRIEF-2 were sent home for guardians to complete. Using qualitative methods, this study found that students who participate in truancy in a rural environment have fewer positive relationships with teachers and more negative relationships with peers within the school. While both students and parents report that parents care and ask about their student’s education, parents of the students in the truant group either are not or cannot be available to their students as often as parents of the students within the control group. Students within the control group were often more likely to have difficulty regulating their emotions. In order to combat the difficulties that students who participate in truancy face, several suggestions for intervention implementation are discussed within the full document. Finally, this study intended to have two groups of truant students (2-4 unexcused absences and 10 or more); however, within this specific rural environment, it was difficult to find freshmen with large numbers of unexcused absences. Administration shared that they have many more juniors with unexcused absences than freshmen. Therefore, it is possible that the tipping point in a rural environment is later than an urban environment and could coincide with receiving a driver’s license.

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