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Level of involvement of college students with and without disabilities at independent colleges in New England

Joanne M Gallagher, Johnson & Wales University


The undergraduate college experience provides students with the ability to grow academically, socially and personally. This experience has been well documented for students without disabilities, but little research has been performed on students with disabilities. Based on Alexander Astin's involvement theory, this research examined the awareness of campus services and activities and the level of involvement of students with and without disabilities at independent baccalaureate institutions in New England. The relationship of these services and activities to student involvement was compared for each group of students and between groups. Student questionnaires were sent to three independent institutions and a total of 168 responses were returned. The students with disabilities completed eighty-nine questionnaires and students without disabilities completed seventy-nine questionnaires. Data were subjected to descriptives, two-way ANOVA and discriminant analyses. Results revealed that all students were highly aware of campus services and activities, but utilization was low for all groups. Students with disabilities and resident students utilized campus services and activities more often than students without disabilities and commuter students, respectively. For students with disabilities, the best predictor was the utilization of the Office of Disability Services and the worst predictor the lack of use of Health Services. Prediction of group membership of students with and without disabilities was moderately high for awareness and utilization of campus services and activities. This study validated Astin's involvement theory for resident students and initiated a preliminary application for students with disabilities. Recommendations for the integration of campus services and activities into academic coursework and future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Higher education|Educational sociology

Recommended Citation

Gallagher, Joanne M, "Level of involvement of college students with and without disabilities at independent colleges in New England" (1999). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI9999552.