The association between child and adolescent emotional disorder and poor attendance at school: a systematic review protocol.
© The Author(s). 2017 . This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
BACKGROUND: Anxiety and depression are common in young people and are associated with a range of adverse outcomes. Research has suggested a relationship between emotional disorder and poor school attendance, and thus poor attendance may serve as a red flag for children at risk of emotional disorder. This systematic review aims to investigate the association between child and adolescent emotional disorder and poor attendance at school. METHODS: We will search electronic databases from a variety of disciplines including medicine, psychology, education and social sciences, as well as sources of grey literature, to identify any quantitative studies that investigate the relationship between emotional disorder and school attendance. Emotional disorder may refer to diagnoses of mood or anxiety disorders using standardised diagnostic measures, or measures of depression, anxiety or "internalising symptoms" using a continuous scale. Definitions for school non-attendance vary, and we aim to include any relevant terminology, including attendance, non-attendance, school refusal, school phobia, absenteeism and truancy. Two independent reviewers will screen identified papers and extract data from included studies. We will assess the risk of bias of included studies using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Random effects meta-analysis will be used to pool quantitative findings when studies use the same measure of association, otherwise a narrative synthesis approach will be used. DISCUSSION: This systematic review will provide a detailed synthesis of evidence regarding the relationship between childhood emotional disorder and poor attendance at school. Understanding this relationship has the potential to assist in the development of strategies to improve the identification of and intervention for this vulnerable group. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO CRD42016052961.
This research is being carried out as part of a PhD studentship funded by the University of Exeter Medical School.
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