Acting Up or Opting Out: An Analytical Literature Review of Extant South African and International School Truancy Studies

Maynard van Breda


The common purpose of this article is to review recent international and South African research on school truancy and the implementation of intervention strategies. The specific aim is to examine the effects of interventions on school attendance in order to inform policy, practice and research. Consequently, this review is limited to a consideration of definitional issues, causes of truancy and non-attendance and on recent trends in truancy intervention research. Much of the research draws attention to the fact that there is a diversity of views as to causal factors of this behaviour. Some suggest that school truancy is the effect of dysfunctional family backgrounds and home life, education systems which fail learners, unjust social and economic systems as well as psychological traits among learners such as low level of self-esteem and poor self-concept. The article concludes with a discussion on intervention strategies aimed at reducing the prevalence of truant behaviour. It is also envisaged that the implications of this review will provide evidence, guidance as well as some caution for future researchers who wish to advance the study of truant behaviour among students and the implementation of intervention strategies.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n16p322

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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