Award Date

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Christopher Kearney

Second Committee Member

Michelle G. Paul

Third Committee Member

Murray Millar

Fourth Committee Member

Courtney Coughenour

Number of Pages



School attendance problems (SAPs) represent a critical developmental challenge for youth. SAPs represent a spectrum from difficulties attending school despite complete school attendance to complete absence. Ongoing SAPs can lead to chronic absenteeism, which may be defined as missing 8.3–10.0% (15–18 days) of school in an academic year. However, debate exists over the utility of a demarcation for chronic absenteeism. A shortcoming of cutoffs to defining problematic chronic absenteeism is that demographic, academic, symptom, and family variables are not delineated clearly. Yet, the present intervention frameworks (e.g., multi-tiered systems of supports models; MTSS) rely on clear delineations of such variables to determine students in need of intervention. School climate, a construct central to both education and policy, is one variable that schools can target to address chronic absenteeism. Researchers have yet to examine developmental differences, such as age and grade, within the school climate framework related to absenteeism trajectories. More information regarding whether different developmental levels impact the relationship between school climate and absenteeism may be helpful in further elucidating data-informed demarcations in the MTSS framework. The present study aimed to further examine the validity of a 10% cutoff for chronic absenteeism by evaluating school climate predictors of absenteeism across developmental levels. The present study included three CHAID trees for elementary, middle, and high school students to identify high and low-risk pathways with respect to chronic absenteeism. Our findings revealed that student needs can be specific to developmental level and should be considered differently depending on the youth’s age and grade.


Chronic absenteeism; Developmental; School Climate


Clinical Psychology

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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