Hispanic and black children more likely to miss school due to irregular behavior

Children in the United States are more likely to be absent or never attend school due to poor behavior than Hispanic and black children according to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Researchers examined data from a study which followed more than 20000 preschool-age children from 1991 to 2017. Their study has shown Hispanic and black children showed the greatest odds of being absent or not making up for lost cognitive time lost due to poor behavior followed by white children.

Our study contributes to a growing understanding of the strong racial disparities in preschool-age behavior challenges in the United States said Substance Abuse and Mental Health Research Program Manager Dana Hermann PhD of the Saban Research Institute of the University of California San Francisco who led the study. African-American children are more likely than Hispanic and black children to be absent or not making up for lost time because anorexia nervosa depression ADHD and other eating disorders make poor behavior more likely. Given the racial disparities in school-related behavior challenges it is important to understand the impact of substance use on children Hermann continued. The importance of understanding the effects of substance use on children and the methods through which we test for cognitive behavioral problems is apparent in our study which presents extensive evidence in support of a broad and well-cited range of substance use disorders.

Poor behavior from grade 3 continued to be associated with more cannabis use throughout grade school into preschool and into adolescence.

Biological explanations of this finding will need to be addressed in future studies in order to understand better what neurobiological factors contribute to poor attention and academic achievement in children said Gregory Leshres MS PhD executive director of the North Carolina Center for Studies in Education Psychology.

Hermann and co-investigators Simon Mann PhD and Bruce Justice PhD were surprised that this particular finding did not come from examining only Hispanic and Black children. Previous studies indicated somewhat lower rates of sustained attention than that found in white children Hermann explained. In our study we didnt find that this was the case.

The studys findings were determined by comparing information from the Child Behavior Checklists through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annual surveys. We studied data from almost four thousand preschool-age children in the United States Hermann said. A total of a smaller groups of non-Hispanic white children (representing 44 percent of the study population) were excluded because of lower prevalence of IQ-based ADHD in these group she explained.

The researchers analyzed data from the two assessments-including a battery of standardized tests of attention and attention-span-that included a content analysis a medication analysis and a behavior analysis. We included those with histories of academic failure because they typically had low academic abilities and also a history of neglect as a result of increased early intervention related to employment or parental status they explained.

Child behavior and attention was assessed at six and 12 months of elementary school using the parents survey at one four six eight and 12 months of kindergarten. The medication analysis included information about administration of antipsychotic medication response to aspirin and antibiotics and total scores on ADHD anxiety aggression and attention and making themselves mistake-free. Weve found no differential pattern of outcomes between whole and subgroup based on ADHD diagnosis at six months of elementary school Leshres said.

We were also surprised to find that kids affected by ADHD are more likely to be excluded from interventions that seek to intervene at the very earliest post-kindergarten years which may explain why the effects of ADHD on cognition continue through adolescence and into adulthood Leshres said.