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ERIC Number: ED548144
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 134
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-7901-6
College Students with Disabilities' Motivation to Utilize Disability Support Services: A Qualitative Investigation
Meyer, Rachel Heather
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Temple University
The current study investigated the motivation of college students with disabilities to disclose their disability(s) to the university and to utilize disability support services. Eleven college students with a diversity of invisible disabilities from a large university were interviewed using a narrative approach. Analysis involved a combination of inductive and deductive procedures informed by Self-Determination Theory (SDT) (Ryan & Deci, 2002; Deci & Ryan, 2000). The analysis identified six themes in the narratives within which students' experiences were analyzed as more or less supportive of their psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness: (1) Disability Construction; (2) High School Experience; (3) Significant Adults; (4) Disability Resources and Services (DRS) and other Services; (5) Interactions with Faculty; and (6) Interactions with Peers. An important conclusion of the analysis was that students' motivation and decision to disclose their disability and to utilize support services was framed by the level of acceptance of their disability--or, in self-determination theory terms, their integration of their disability to their authentic self. Students' narratives that suggested integration of the disability to the self also included indication of the students being more proactive, agentic, flexible, adaptive, and open in disclosing their disability to the university, to faculty and to peers, and in utilizing support services. In contrast, students' narratives that suggested partial or non-integration of the disability, and ambivalence towards being labeled with a disability, also included indication for hesitance, rigidity, and less adaptive patterns of disclosure and utilization of services. Different levels of integration of the disability in students' narratives were concordant with indication in the narratives of different levels of support for the psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness--particularly by significant adults at home and in high-school. These general psychological-motivational patterns manifested in the narratives as individual profiles that integrated the six themes into the unique narrative of each participant. The study ends with consideration of the implications of the findings to future research and possible ways by which university disability support services may promote effective utilization of services by students with disabilities. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A