Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Examining the Link between Education Related Outcomes and Student Health Risk Behaviours among Canadian Youth: Data from the 2006 National Youth Smoking Survey

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Examining the Link between Education Related Outcomes and Student Health Risk Behaviours among Canadian Youth: Data from the 2006 National Youth Smoking Survey

Article excerpt


This study examined whether student tobacco, alcohol, marijuana use, and sedentary behaviour were associated with the educational outcomes of health-related absenteeism, truancy, and academic motivation in a nationally representative sample of Canadian youth. Descriptive analyses indicate a high proportion of students missed school due to health, and skipped class in the last month. Truancy increased with age, and male students are more likely to skip class and be less academically motivated. Logistic regression models showed significant associations exist between substance use and all three educational outcomes. These findings support the need for coordinated action and funding in student health promotion.

Keywords: Adolescent, Youth, Truancy, Absenteeism, Academic Motivation, Tobacco, Marijuana, Alcohol


Cette etude a examine si le tabac, l'alcool, la consommation de marijuana, et le comportement sedentaire d'etudiants ont ete associes a la reussite scolaire de l'absenteisme lies a la sante, l'absenteisme et la motivation scolaire dans un echantillon national representatif de la jeunesse canadienne. Les analyses descriptives indiquent une forte proportion d'eleves ont manque l'ecole pour raison de sante, et ont saute de classe dans le dernier mois. L'absenteisme augmente avec l'age, et les etudiants male sont plus susceptibles de manquer de classe et d'etre moins motives academiquement. Des modeles de regression logistique ont montre des associations significatives existent entre l'usage des substances et les trois resultats scolaires. Ces resultats confirment la necessite d'une action coordonnee et de financement dans la promotion de la sante des eleves.


Adolescent educational achievement is a societal concern of parents, educators, and legislators alike. Poor academic achievement is associated with numerous negative outcomes including greater likelihood of dropping out of high school (Jimerson, Egeland, Sroufe, & Carlson, 2000; Kasen, Cohen, & Brook, 1998), future unemployment (Tanner, Davies, & O'Grady, 1999), and lower adult socioeconomic status (Day & Newburger, 2002; Luster & McAdoo, 1996). Two key predictors of adolescent academic achievement are school absenteeism (Bosworth, 1994; Ou & Reynolds, 2008) and academic motivation (Anderson & Keith, 1997; Ou & Reynolds, 2008). School absenteeism is generally defined as any absence, excusable or inexcusable, from school (Keamey, 2008b). School absenteeism covers the spectrum of absences, such as family trips, absences due to health reasons, being late for classes, skipping classes, or missing entire days of school without parental knowledge or approval (Keamey, 2008b). Although the evidence linking academic success to the type of school absence, excused or unexcused, is mixed (Bosworth, 1994; Eaton, Brener, & Kann, 2008; Farrington & Loeber, 2000; Gottfried, 2009; Moonie, Sterling, Figgs, & Castro, 2008), school administrators identify chronic absenteeism as a major obstacle to academic achievement (Mccray, 2006). Further, chronic absenteeism may be an early indication of future school problems (Bryant, Schulenberg, Bachman, O'Malley, & Johnston, 2000) including eventual early drop out of school (Goodall, 2005).

As truancy, commonly defined as any absence without parental knowledge or approval (Keamey, 2008b), has repeatedly been shown to negatively affect academic achievement (Claes, Hooghe, & Reeskens, 2009; Farrington & Loeber, 2000; Henry & Huizinga, 2007b; Hunt & Hopko, 2009; U.S. Department of Education, 2009), most of the focus of absenteeism centres on this stereotype of students skipping classes or days of school. While truancy is considered a common occurrence in high schools around the world (Henry, Thomberry, & Huizinga, 2009; Willms, 2003), a gap in the research literature exists as to student truancy rates in Canada. …

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