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Dropouts and the experience of invalidation in the high school Thomson, Vicky Renee


This study explores the areas of invalidation experienced by students in the school system prior to their leaving school before completing grade 12. In total, 251 key incidents and feelings were identified from 20 participants during a semi-structured interview using early recollections, interview questions and story construction. Key feelings and incidents were organized into 7 major and 22 subordinate categories. These categories centered around the need for caring relationships, emotional security, belonging and affiliation, and a sense of relevance and meaning to life. Dropouts were seen to have frustrated needs in finding significance in their school lives in interpersonal and academic areas. Implications for improving high schools, counselling and future research are outlined.

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