features of school refusers

Last reviewed 01/2018

Boys and girls (equal sex ratio) whose parents nearly always know where they are and when they are not at school - they are usually at home.

The refusers are often from smaller families or the youngest child and are often compliant in school with adequate academic records.

Any association with emotional immaturity and/or conduct disorder is unusual.

The typical presentation is of a child who is reasonably contented at home but shows marked anxiety when it is time to leave for school, or runs home from school in a panic. An important variant is the child who has persistent somatic complaints (headache, abdominal pain etc) which are only present on school mornings but disappear when permission had been given to stay at home.