Title

The Meaning and Experiences of Well-Being Among College Students with Disabilities: An Occupational Perspective

Start Time

21-10-2011 2:20 PM

End Time

21-10-2011 2:50 PM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

Purpose: Little is known about the meaning and experiences of well-being among college students with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences and meaning of physical, mental, and social well-being among undergraduate college students with disabilities in relation to their participation in college activities.

Relevance to Occupational Science: This study helps to advance the field of occupational science by exploring the meaning and experiences of well-being of individuals with disabilities in relation to participation in occupations within a specific context. It begins to address the gap in the literature and brings new knowledge and a new perspective to the literature on well-being and occupational participation.

Methods: The study employed a basic interpretive qualitative design (Merriam, 2009). Achieving maximum variability of disability (anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, dysgraphia, blind, cardiac disorder, diabetes, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, hearing impaired, HIV positive, spinal cord injury, and chronic pain), age (mean age of 34.2 years), and ethnicity (5 Caucasian, 3 African American, 1 Asian American, 1 Hispanic American), the researcher recruited 10 participants using convenience and purposive sampling strategies. After obtaining IRB approval and informed consent, the researcher conducted individual one-on-one interviews which lasted between 1-2 hours. Data were transcribed verbatim, imported into AtlasTi, and analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding (Corbin & Strauss, 2008; Merriam).

Results: Results were triangulated using multiple analysts, expert audit review, theory triangulation, and member checks (Patton, 2002). Applying the occupational perspective of health model (Wilcock,2006) and person-environment-occupation model (Law et al., 1996), the following themes and subthemes emerged: (a) Doing and Belonging; (b) Doing and Being A Part of Something Beyond Myself; (c) Doing Academic Related Activities: Sense of Achievement and Challenges; (d) Support Systems Enable Participation and Promote Well-Being; (e) Being a College Student with a Disability: Keeping Disability in Perspective, Self-Determination, Feeling Forgotten or Misunderstood, Balancing; and (f) Aspiring to Become. Participants described both positive and negative experiences and meaning of well-being.

Conclusion. By doing college activities and being a college student, the participants are building the skills they will need to become what they want to become. Future research needs to be done to examine and promote the well-being of college students with disabilities in relation to their participation in college activities.

Objectives:

  1. Present findings of study.
  2. Introduce a model illustrating the meaning and experiences of well-being among college students with disabilities applying an occupational perspective.
  3. Discuss importance of findings in terms of contributions to the occupational science literature and future research.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do college students with disabilities describe their experiences of well-being in relation to participation in college occupations?
  2. How do college students with disabilities describe the meaning of well-being in relation to participation in college occupations?
  3. How do the findings of this study contribute to the occupational science literature on well-being?
  4. How can occupational therapists use the findings of this study to direct future practice?
  5. What types of research needs to be done to help understand how participation in occupation influences the well-being of college students with disabilities?

References

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Law, M., Cooper, B., Strong, S., Stewart, D., Rigby, P., & Letts, L. (1996). The person-environment-occupation model: A transactive approach to occupational performance. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, 9-23.

Merriam, S. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Wilcock, A. (2006). An occupational perspective of health (2nd ed.). Thorofare: Slack.

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Oct 21st, 2:20 PM Oct 21st, 2:50 PM

The Meaning and Experiences of Well-Being Among College Students with Disabilities: An Occupational Perspective

Purpose: Little is known about the meaning and experiences of well-being among college students with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences and meaning of physical, mental, and social well-being among undergraduate college students with disabilities in relation to their participation in college activities.

Relevance to Occupational Science: This study helps to advance the field of occupational science by exploring the meaning and experiences of well-being of individuals with disabilities in relation to participation in occupations within a specific context. It begins to address the gap in the literature and brings new knowledge and a new perspective to the literature on well-being and occupational participation.

Methods: The study employed a basic interpretive qualitative design (Merriam, 2009). Achieving maximum variability of disability (anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, dysgraphia, blind, cardiac disorder, diabetes, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, hearing impaired, HIV positive, spinal cord injury, and chronic pain), age (mean age of 34.2 years), and ethnicity (5 Caucasian, 3 African American, 1 Asian American, 1 Hispanic American), the researcher recruited 10 participants using convenience and purposive sampling strategies. After obtaining IRB approval and informed consent, the researcher conducted individual one-on-one interviews which lasted between 1-2 hours. Data were transcribed verbatim, imported into AtlasTi, and analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding (Corbin & Strauss, 2008; Merriam).

Results: Results were triangulated using multiple analysts, expert audit review, theory triangulation, and member checks (Patton, 2002). Applying the occupational perspective of health model (Wilcock,2006) and person-environment-occupation model (Law et al., 1996), the following themes and subthemes emerged: (a) Doing and Belonging; (b) Doing and Being A Part of Something Beyond Myself; (c) Doing Academic Related Activities: Sense of Achievement and Challenges; (d) Support Systems Enable Participation and Promote Well-Being; (e) Being a College Student with a Disability: Keeping Disability in Perspective, Self-Determination, Feeling Forgotten or Misunderstood, Balancing; and (f) Aspiring to Become. Participants described both positive and negative experiences and meaning of well-being.

Conclusion. By doing college activities and being a college student, the participants are building the skills they will need to become what they want to become. Future research needs to be done to examine and promote the well-being of college students with disabilities in relation to their participation in college activities.

Objectives:

  1. Present findings of study.
  2. Introduce a model illustrating the meaning and experiences of well-being among college students with disabilities applying an occupational perspective.
  3. Discuss importance of findings in terms of contributions to the occupational science literature and future research.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do college students with disabilities describe their experiences of well-being in relation to participation in college occupations?
  2. How do college students with disabilities describe the meaning of well-being in relation to participation in college occupations?
  3. How do the findings of this study contribute to the occupational science literature on well-being?
  4. How can occupational therapists use the findings of this study to direct future practice?
  5. What types of research needs to be done to help understand how participation in occupation influences the well-being of college students with disabilities?