PSYCHO-BEHAVIOURAL FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO TRUANCY AMONG MALAY SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN MALAYSIA Shamsul Azhar Shah*, Azura Abdullah**, Azimatun Noor Aizuddin*, Mohd Rohaizat Hassan*, Nazarudin Safian*, Rozita Hod*, Rahmah Mohd Amin* Senior Medical Lecturer, **Postgraduate Student, Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Malaysia, Jalan Yaacob Latif, Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Abstract Objective: Truancy is a disciplinary problem, which frequently occurs among school students and it has many contributory as well as inter-related factors. It is a growing problem in this country and it often becomes a prelude to other delinquent behaviours. The study objective is to determine the prevalence of truancy as well as factors related to it including psycho-behavioural factors. Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 556 Malay student’s selected using multi-stage sampling was conducted. Results: The overall prevalence of truancy is 30.2%. The predictors to truancy are age, students who frequenting entertainment centre, students who have not completed Quran recital, coping strategies using problems solving methods and time spent watching television/video. There is a significant association between truancy and psycho-behaviour such as watching video/internet pornography, frequenting entertainment centre, smoking, motorcycle racing and dating a special friend. Conclusion: Truancy is a social issue, which must be given serious attention by all concerned components of the society. ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 13 (2): July – December 2012: XX XX. Keywords: Truancy, Malay Students, Coping Strategies, Delinquent Behaviours Introduction Playing truant is one of the disciplinary problems with highest rate among school students. Truancy, as defined by the Federal Territory Education Department of Kuala Lumpur is not attending school on official school days without reason or without written reasons from parents or guardians or medical doctors . According to a report the rate of truancy in year 2003 was 0.86%; with criminal behaviour (0.24%), obscene behaviour (0.03%), destructive behaviour (0.04%) and dishonest behaviour (0.02%) . Those who manifested delinquent/ high level of aggressive behavior were more than twice at risk than other children to develop drug use disorder . In year 2003, 43,421 students played truant from school and this number has increased 25% compared with the number of truancies in year 2000, which was 34,613. This trend is worrying and if steps are not taken to put a stop to it, this problem will evolve into a future menace to society. Several studies conducted in Malaysia showed the truancy rate among students is at a critical stage, between 20 and 40%. According to a study of high risk Form 1 teenagers in Federal *
Psycho-Behavioural Factors Contributing To Truancy Among Malay Secondary School Students In Malaysia ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 13 (2), July - December 2012: XX XX
Development Authority (FELDA) settlements in Perak, Johor and Pahang, the prevalence of students who have played truant from school is 41.4% . Another study conducted among students from high risk schools in Kuala Lumpur showed the prevalence of playing truant is 21.2% . In the United States of America and Britain, the prevalence of playing truant in the past 20 years is between 3 and 19% . A study in Cologne, Germany which classifies truancy as students being absent without reason for more than five times in the previous year, showed a truancy prevalence rate of 7.9% . Truancy is also a precursor to other negative behaviour such as delinquency or criminal activities. The Los Angeles Education Department reported that chronic truancy...