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ERIC Number: EJ1133819
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Invisible Injuries: The Experiences of College Students with Histories of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Childers, Carrie; Hux, Karen
Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, v29 n4 p389-405 Win 2016
This qualitative study explored the college life phenomenon as experienced by students with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Previous research about such students has focused on topics including study strategy use, access of support services, and insights from caregivers or instructors. However, little attention has been paid to the perceptions of postsecondary students, and available data stems almost exclusively from structured survey items and quantitative research studies. The lack of direct input from students with MTBI means professionals have limited insight into perceptions about students' challenges and successes associated with college experiences. To address this research gap, we asked five college students with MTBI to discuss their college experiences, factors mediating those experiences, and perceived similarities and differences between themselves and other college students with and without disabilities. Each interview lasted approximately one hour and used a semi-structured interview protocol. Data were analyzed using established phenomenological methods. Results suggested that the students experienced cognitive, physical, and social-emotional changes that altered their academic experiences, necessitated academic accommodations, and required self-advocacy skills. In addition, family and teacher support, self-determination, and academic accommodations positively affected students' college experiences, whereas factors such as injury invisibility, coursework difficulty, and teacher misconceptions or lack of support had negative effects. The findings highlight the need for additional education and support for college students with MTBI and the educators who serve them.
Association on Higher Education and Disability. 107 Commerce Center Drive Suite 204, Huntersville, NC 28078. Tel: 704-947-7779; Fax: 704-948-7779; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale; Beery Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration; Cognitive Assessment System
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A