Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Christopher Kearney

Number of Pages



School refusal behavior has been researched and discussed within psychological and educational communities for over a century, and family environment has been found to influence such behavior. Specifically, differences have been found with respect to the function of youth school refusal behavior and levels of familial independence, cohesion, and conflict. Parenting styles have also been found to influence the behavior of youth. Authoritative parenting is associated with children who perform well scholastically and exhibit few internalizing or externalizing behaviors. Family environment and parenting styles have not been researched as joint influences on school refusal behavior. This study investigated possible effects of family environment and parenting styles on youngsters with school refusal behavior within Las Vegas middle and high school students. Results indicated that youth refusing school for attention reported significantly lower levels of independence than families of children refusing school for tangible reinforcement. Youth refusing school for tangible reinforcement were in the sample majority. In response, youth refusing school for tangible reinforcement were further grouped into two- and three-group diagnostic classifications. Differences were found among these groups with respect to family expressiveness and moral-religious emphasis. With respect to parenting, youth within the entire sample perceived parents as predominantly authoritarian and differences were found among the two- and three-group classifications with respect to mother permissiveness. Post hoc analyses revealed differences among the two- and three-group diagnostic classifications with respect to internalizing and externalizing behaviors, with youth refusing school for tangible reinforcement without the influence of another function reporting lower incidences of internalizing symptoms and social problems. Results indicated the value of family and parent assessment in youth with school refusal behavior. In addition, further investigation of the variability among youth refusing school for tangible reinforcement may result in more successful assessment and treatment for this population.


Behavior; Environment; Family; Parenting; Refusal; Relationship; School; Style

Controlled Subject

Clinical psychology; Educational psychology; Social psychology

File Format


File Size

3891.2 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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