School refusal: a new issue among adolescents
New findings from psychological research have found that when students experience co-morbid symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders, coupled with external stressors both in and out of the home they are more likely to develop School Refusal as an emotion problem. School Refusal develops over a period of time, with the underlying issues including social stress, bullying, trauma and fear.
Although no cases have yet been reported of School Refusal in Hong Kong, awareness is key in helping stave off this issue, particularly where the academic culture puts students at risk of developing anxiety disorders simply because they are not equipped to healthily manage their problems. Parental discipline in the form of threatening, shaming or punishing adolescents for this behaviour may do more harm than good as this is another form of anxiety that must be managed.