School exclusion could lead to mental health problems, research shows

Pupils who have been excluded can develop a range of disorders such as anxiety, depression and behavioural problems, a new study shows.

According to research from the University of Exeter, students who have faced exclusion can also be subject to long-term psychiatric problems and distress.

The research, which was published in the journal ‘Psychological Medicine’, found that over 5,000 pupils had a “bi-directional association” between psychological distress and exclusion meaning that pupils with health problems like depression, ADHD and anxiety were more likely to be excluded.

However, pupils who had no previous record of mental health issues, but had been excluded, were more likely than their classmate to experience psychological stress later in life.

One of the researchers, Claire Parker, commented: ““Although an exclusion from school may only last for a day or two, the impact and repercussions for the child and parents are much wider.

“Exclusion often marks a turning point during an ongoing difficult time for the child, parent and those trying to support the child in school.”

The report concluded that support for pupils whose “behaviour challenges school systems is important” and that “timely intervention may prevent exclusion from school, as well as future psychopathology”.

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