Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Adjustment to College among Lower Division Students with Disabilities: An Exploratory Study
by McNulty, Kristy Lee Ann, Ed.D., Portland State University, 2014, 287; 3615917
Abstract (Summary)

This study utilized a quality of life framework of psychosocial adaptation to explore relationships among college stress, functional limitations, coping strategies, and perceived social suport in adjustment to college among first-year and second-year undergraduate students with disabilities, based on specific hypothesized relations. College adjustment outcomes included: life satisfaction, academic performance, and psychosocial-emotional adjustment to college.

A nonprobability sample of 103 first-year and second-year undergraduate college students with disabilities participated in the study. Respondents were registered with an office of support services for students with disabilities at a public, four-year university, located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Respondents were recruited by responding to an e-mail requesting participation in an online, web-based survey.

Eight self-report measures included: (a) Participant Survey (developed by the researcher to collect socio-demographic information, (b) College Stress Inventory (CSI; Solberg, Hale, Villarreal, & Kavanagh, 1993), (c) Disability Functional Limitations Scale (DFLS) (developed by the researcher), (d) Brief COPE; Carver, 1997, (e) Social Support Appraisals-Revised (SSA-R) scale; Vaux et al., 1986), (f) Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985), (g) Grade Point Average-Scale (GPA-S; adapted by the researcher from a self-reported grading scale), and (h) Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ; Baker & Siryk, 1999).

Data were analyzed using descriptive and correlational procedures. Bivariate analysis suggested that all predictor variables (i.e., college stress, functional limitations, engagement coping, and perceived social support) were significantly associated with student adjustment to college. Hierarchical multiple regression suggested mostly direct (i.e., main) effects for engagement coping and perceived social support. No interacting role for either engagement-type coping or perceived social support was suggested, except for the following: Engagement-type coping moderated the relationship between disability-related functional limitations (as measured by increased restrictions in the ability to perform daily routines, activites, and life roles) and adaptation to college, as measured by life satisfaction. Analyses of socio-demographic variables revealed significant associations between chronological age, gender, hours employed, and adjustment to college. Lastly, hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed disengagment coping accounting for as much as 53% of the variance in adjustment scores. This result suggested disengagement coping adding significant predictive utility for adaptation-associated college adjustment.

In light of these findings, counseling professionals may wish to consider the beneficial role of engagement coping in promoting optimal adjustment to college for lower-division undergraduate students with disabilities.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Livneh, Hanoch
Commitee: Halverson-Westerberg, Susan, Miars, Russ, Powers, Laurie
School: Portland State University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology, Special education, Counseling Psychology, Higher education
Keywords: Adaptation, College adjustment, Coping, Postsecondary education, Students with disabilities
Publication Number: 3615917
ISBN: 978-1-303-82471-5
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