• Identity of College Students with Psychiatric Disabilities and Use of Support Services

      Kaplan, Avi; Thurman, S. Kenneth; Schifter, Catherine; Kanno, Yasuko, 1965- (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      Given the increasing number of undergraduate students with psychiatric disabilities enrolling in college and the disproportionately high attrition rates among this group, it is important that researchers understand the experiences of these students and identify and address the barriers to higher education that face this population. While most college campuses make a number of modifications, accommodations, and services available to students with registered disabilities, researchers suggest that many students with psychiatric disabilities fail to either register or make effective use of such services. Research has found that the endorsement of disability identity impacts the proactive utilization of valuable academic accommodations and promotes students’ academic success. However, little is known about how disability identity is shaped and maintained within the context of college. Still, even less is known about the experiences of students with psychiatric disabilities or how they construct meaning pertaining to their disability within college. The current study explored the processes by which undergraduate students with psychiatric disabilities make meaning of their disability identity through interaction and participation within the college context. Furthermore, I explored students’ decisions regarding disability disclosure and the utilization of support services as one means of understanding a motivated action indicative of disability identity. I employed an interpretative phenomenological approach to gain insight into the perceptions, meaning making, and lived experiences of undergraduate college students with psychiatric disabilities regarding the contextualized construction of disability identity. The results of the analysis suggest that disability identity is dynamic and constructed through interactions with others and participation in various activities and experiences presented in the college environment. These findings contribute to the literature on identity formation in college students with psychiatric disabilities and provide important implications for theory, research, and practice.