Date of Award

8-1-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Rehabilitation

First Advisor

Crimando, William

Abstract

One of the primary reasons many college students with disabilities, and more specifically college student veterans with disabilities, do not seek support services is due to the stigma associated with disability, especially cognitive and mental health disabilities. The purpose of the present study was to explore how public university faculty in the state of Illinois perceive a college student veteran with the concurrent disabilities of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). This information was gleaned by means of a mixed-method, online survey. Through iterative, comparative, qualitative analysis, characteristics used to describe college student veterans with the PTSD and TBI were classified into six emergent prototypes. These prototypes included (1) the mature independent student; (2) the American hero; (3) the special needs student; (4) the isolated student; (5) the volatile student; and (6) the wounded warrior. Secondary analyses quantitatively examined the relationship between contact with a student veteran and the proportion of positive responses given for each participant as well as the relationship between contact with a student veteran and the proportion of negative responses given for each participant. Pearson correlation analysis indicated no significant relationship between prior contact factor scores and the proportion of positive responses given by faculty r(269) = .032, p = .597 nor was there a significant relationship detected between prior contact factor scores and the proportion of negative responses given by faculty r(269) = -.020, p= .745. Tertiary analysis examined the proportion of positive to negative perceptions by faculty. Overall, faculty responses were more negative than positive. Implications for best practices at the administration level as well as for faculty and students were discussed. Limitations to the study were also discussed.

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