New Report: The Connection Between Health and High School Dropout

Posted by on April 26, 2010

Health and drop-out risk

A new report released by the California Dropout Research Project (CDRP) describes connections between health and failure to graduate high school. The report synthesizes existing research, and highlights three distinct pathways in which health and dropping out are connected: childhood physical illness, childhood mental health problems, and adolescent risk behaviors. Research reported in the February 17 issue of the Journal of American Medical Association found that 25 percent of children in the U.S. have chronic health conditions. Another study found that in 2005, children in California who suffered from asthma missed 1.9 million days of school. While not as commonly diagnosed as physical illnesses and chronic conditions, mental health issues affect almost one in five children and adolescents; as many as 80 percent of these children go untreated for their mental health problems. “Expanding access to medical care and providing disease management support are strategies that will help to improve educational performance,” said Russell Rumberger, director of the California Dropout Research Project. “The report underscores the need for health care reform and demonstrates how it can help address America’s dropout crisis.”

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