School refusal is a psychosocial problem associated with adverse short- and long-term consequences for children and adolescents. The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the effects of psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents with school refusal.
A comprehensive search process was used to find eligible randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies assessing the effects of psychosocial treatments on anxiety or attendance outcomes. Data were quantitatively synthesized using meta-analytic methods.
Eight studies including 435 children and adolescents with school refusal were included in this review. Significant effects were found for attendance but not for anxiety.
Evidence indicates that improvements in school attendance occur for children and adolescents with school refusal who receive psychosocial treatment. The lack of evidence of short-term effects on anxiety points to the need for long-term follow-up studies to determine whether increased attendance ultimately leads to reduced anxiety.
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