Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

BMC Research Notes






48 (1-5)



There are limited data on the prevalence and associated factors of truancy in southern Africa. Yet truancy should attract the attention of public health professionals, educators and policy makers as it may be associated with adolescent problem behaviours. The objectives of the study were to estimate the prevalence and determine correlates of school truancy among pupils in Zambia.


We used data collected in 2004 in the Zambia Global School-based Health Survey. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify factors associated with truancy. A total of 2257 pupils participated in the survey of whom 53.9% were male. Overall 58.8% of the participants (58.1% of males and 58.4% of females) reported being truant in the past 30 days. Factors associated with truancy were having been bullied (AOR = 1.34, 95% CI [1.32, 1.36]), current alcohol use (AOR = 2.19, 95% CI [2.16, 2.23]), perception that other students were kind and helpful (AOR = 1.12, 95% CI [1.10, 1.14]), being male and being from the lowest school grade. Pupils whose parents or guardians checked their homework (AOR = 0.91 95% CI, [0.89, 0.92]) and those who reported parental supervision (AOR = 0.94, 95% CI [0.92-0.95]) were less likely to report being truant.


We found a high prevalence of truancy among pupils in grades 7-10 in Zambia. Interventions aimed to reduce truancy should be designed and implemented with due consideration of the associated factors.


This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Original Publication Citation

Muula, A. S., Rudatsikira, E., Babaniyi, O., Songolo, P., & Siziya, S. (2012). Prevalence and correlates for school truancy among pupils in grades 7-10: Results from the 2004 Zambia Global School-based Health Survey. BMC Research Notes, 5(1), 48 (41-45). doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-48