Literature Review

Initiative Description: A search using ‘‘school refusal’’ as keywords was conducted of English-language, peer-reviewed journal articles reporting data on school-age youth (5–17 years old).This article reviewed empirical evidence for the efficacy of psychosocial interventions for school refusal
behavior. Data corresponding to 8 experimental single- case and 7 group-design studies were included.

Study Results: For group interventions, behavioral strategies included in vivo exposures to feared stimuli or situations related to school, relaxation training, and contingent reinforcement for school attendance; cognitive strategies included recognizing and clarifying distorted cognitions and attributions and devising coping plans. Across these studies, youth showed improvements in school or classroom attendance relative pretest scores

Interventions tested in experimental single-case design studies used behavioral strategies such as positive reinforcement for gradual exposures to time at school or in the classroom and social skills training for handling school situations

Reference: Pina, A. A., Zerr, A. A., Gonzales, N. A., & Ortiz, C. D. (2009). Psychosocial Interventions for School Refusal Behavior in Children and Adolescents. Child Development Perspectives, 3(1), 11-20. doi:10.1111/j.1750-8606.2008.00070.x

Level of Evidence: 2 out of 5 stars Good