Association between Hunger and Truancy among Students in Liberia: Analysis of 2017 Global School-Based Student Health Survey

Francis APPIAH, Tarif SALIHU, Yaw OPPONG, Henry Yaw ACHEAMPONG, Justice Ofosu Darko FENTENG, Andrews Ohene DARTEH, Matthew TAKYI, Patience Ansomah AYERAKWAH, Kingsley BOAKYE*, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background. About 83% and 49% of Liberians live beneath the poverty line of US$1.25/day and experience hunger, respectively. Studies have established that hunger has long-term adverse consequence on truancy among students. However, no national level study has investigated contribution of hunger on truancy among in-school students in Liberia. This paper therefore seeks to examine the association between hunger and truancy among students in Liberia. The study hypothesises that there exists a positive association between hunger and truancy. Methods. This study used the 2017 Liberia Global School-Based Student Health Survey (LGSSHS) and sampled 2,744 students. However, the present study was restricted to 1,613 respondents who had complete information about variable of interest analysed in the study. Hunger and truancy are the main explanatory and outcome variables for this study. At 95% confidence interval, two binary logistic regression models were built with Model I examining relationship between hunger and truancy and Model II controlled for the influence of covariates on truancy. Our findings were reported in odds ratio (OR) and adjusted odds ratio (AOR). All the analysis was done using STATA version 14.0. Results. Descriptively, 46% were truant, and 65% of students ever experienced hunger. Inferentially, students that ever-encountered hunger had higher odds to truancy (AOR=1.32, CI=1.06-1.65). The odds to be truant also increased among those at 15 years and above (AOR=2.00, CI=1.46-2.72), who witnessed bullying (AOR=1.36, CI=1.10-1.68), that felt lonely (AOR=1.35, CI=1.06-1.71), that currently smoke cigarette (AOR=2.58, CI=1.64-4.06), and wards whose parents go through their things (AOR=1.26, CI=1.03-1.55). Conclusions. The study concluded that hunger was associated with truancy among students in Liberia. Additionally, students' age, bullying, feeling lonely, cigarette use, and parental concern also determined truancy. Governments, policy makers, and other partners in education should therefore roll out some school-based interventions, such as the school feeding program, which will help minimise the incidence of hunger among students. Such programs should consider the variations in students' background characteristics in its design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4785238
Number of pages8
JournalBioMed Research International
Early online date20 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

We are grateful to World Health Organization for providing us dataset used for this study.

Copyright © 2022 Francis Appiah et al.


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