A Prospective Longitudinal Study of High School Dropouts Examining Multiple Predictors Across Development
Prior studies report a variety of demographic, school, individual, and family characteristics that are related to high school drop out. This study utilizes data from a 19-year prospective longitudinal study of “at-risk” children to explore multiple predictors of high school dropouts across development. The proposed model of dropping out emphasizes the importance of the early home environment and the quality of early caregiving influencing subsequent development. The results of this study demonstrate the association of the early home environment, the quality of early caregiving, socioeconomic status, IQ, behavior problems, academic achievement, peer relations, and parent involvement with dropping out of high school at age 19. These results are consistent with the view of dropping out as a dynamic developmental process that begins before children enter elementary school. Psychosocial variables prior to school entry predicted dropping out with power equal to later IQ and school achievement test scores. In our efforts to better understand processes influencing dropping out prior to high school graduation, early developmental features warrant further emphasis.