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Prolonged school non-attendance in adolescence: a practical approach
  1. S Hawkrigg1,
  2. D N Payne1,2
  1. 1Adolescent Medicine Department, Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  2. 2School of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Donald N Payne, Adolescent Medicine Department, Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth, Western Australia 6008, Australia; donald.payne{at}


Prolonged school non-attendance in adolescence poses a significant public health concern. Adverse outcomes for adolescents who have missed out on the social and academic benefits of high school include mental health disorders and economic, social and relationship difficulties that may persist into adulthood. Healthcare professionals are often consulted in cases of prolonged school non-attendance. Diagnosis and management of specific physical and mental health problems must be the health professional's initial priority, with the subsequent development of a management plan to assist with school reintegration. Using a specific framework, an understanding of the factors contributing to a young person's school non-attendance can be developed. Intervention leading to a successful return to school has the potential to lower the risk of associated long-term adverse health outcomes.

  • Adolescent Health
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • General Paediatrics
  • Multidisciplinary team-care
  • School Health

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