Theories and Reasons for High School Dropouts

Academic mediation theory
Research has shown that poor academic achievement is one of the strongest predictors of high school dropout. This theory examines the mediation effect of poor academic achievement on other factors, such as deviant affiliation, personal deviance, family socialization and structural strains, associated with school dropout. Essentially, it looks at how poor academic achievement interacts with and affects the relationship between high school dropout and other factors. The model for this theory was shown to statistically fit at an acceptable degree.

General deviance theory
This theory looks at the relationship between deviant behavior and dropout. Deviant behavior includes delinquency, drug use, and early pregnancy. There is a very strong relationship as general deviance is a strong direct predictor of dropout beyond the effect mediated by poor academic achievement.

Deviant affiliation theory
The relationship described in this theory is one between an individual bonding with antisocial peers and its effect on dropout rates. Students receive the classification of antisocial if they are likely to drop out themselves and/or have low school attachment. If an individual has antisocial friends, he/she is much more likely to drop out of school regardless of how well he/she is doing in school.

Poor family socialization theory
The institution of family appears to very formative for a developing child. As such, this theory examines the relationship between family background and dropout rates. The relationship is not particularly strong, pas academic achievement has much more of an influence than poor family socialization. Factors of poor family socialization include low parental expectations and a parent's lack of education.

Structural strains theory
This theory focuses on the relationship between demographic factors, such as socioeconomic status, gender and ethnicity, and dropout. Boys are much more likely to drop out than girls and dropouts are most likely from a family with a low socioeconomic status. There has been contention over the influence of ethnicity on dropout rates. However, it is clear that it does have some influence. Low socioeconomic status is a significant predictor of dropout beyond poor academic achievement. Ethnicity and gender had no significance beyond their influence on academic achievement.