A1 Journal article (refereed)
Student engagement, truancy, and cynicism : a longitudinal study from primary school to upper secondary education (2021)

Virtanen, T.E., Räikkönen, E., Engels, M.C., Vasalampi, K., & Lerkkanen, M.-K. (2021). Student engagement, truancy, and cynicism : a longitudinal study from primary school to upper secondary education. Learning and Individual Differences, 86, Article 101972. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2021.101972

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Virtanen, T.E.; Räikkönen, E.; Engels, M.C.; Vasalampi, K.; Lerkkanen, M.-K.

Journal or series: Learning and Individual Differences

ISSN: 1041-6080

eISSN: 1873-3425

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 86

Article number: 101972

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2021.101972

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77821


Truancy in upper secondary education is a widespread problem, which contributes significantly to school dropout risk. However, the underlying mechanisms of truancy have remained unstudied. This longitudinal study of 1853 Finnish students examined how initial levels and changes in student engagement from primary (Grade 6) to lower secondary school (Grades 7 and 9) predicted truancy in upper secondary education, and whether cynicism (losing interest in school) mediated the relationship between engagement and truancy. Growth curve models showed that high engagement levels in primary school and increases in engagement over time predicted less truancy in upper secondary education. Cynicism mediated the effects of student engagement on truancy: high initial levels and increases in student engagement predicted less cynicism, which was related to less truancy. The findings underscored the importance of student engagement (both directly and indirectly through cynicism) in reducing truancy, and such associations can carry over two critical school transitions.

Keywords: pupils; school attendance; committing oneself; truancy; attitudes; cynicism; longitudinal research

Free keywords: student engagement; truancy; cynicism toward school; second-order latent growth curve model; longitudinal study

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:44