School Refusal in Children and Adolescents - Article

ABSTRACT: School refusal is a problem that is stressful for children, families, and school personnel. Failing to attend school has significant short- and long-term effects on children's social, emotional, and educational development. School refusal often is associated with comorbid psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. It is important to identify problems early and provide appropriate interventions to prevent further difficulties. Assessment and management of school refusal require a collaborative approach that includes the family physician, school staff, parents, and a mental health professional. Because children often present with physical symptoms, evaluation by a physician is important to rule out any underlying medical problems. Treatments include educational-support therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, parent-teacher interventions, and pharmacotherapy. Family physicians may provide psychoeducational support for the child and parents, monitor medications, and help with referral to more intensive psychotherapy.

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