ADAPTATION TO UNIVERSITY AMONG GREEK STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

E. Andreou1, A. Vlachou1, A. Psyllou1, M. Saridaki1, A. Fyssa2

1University of Thessaly (GREECE)
2University of Patras (GREECE)
Disabled students are likely to encounter difficulties, specifically due to the experience of living with an impairment in often restrictive educational environments that may complicate their adaptation processes. In light of the above, the current study aims to investigate adjustment difficulties of Greek university disabled students in terms of their social adaptation, attachment to their institution as well as their personal-emotional adaptation to university. 81 disabled students aged 18 to 50 years (M age = 26.16, SD= 7.59, 59.3% (N=48) females) completed the “College Adaptation Questionnaire” (CAQ) and a demographic questionnaire including information about type, perceived visibility, severity and onset of impairment as well as gender, age and educational level. A series of GLM approaches was conducted in order to examine the effect of the impairment features (i.e. type, visibility, severity and onset of impairment) and control variables (age and educational level) on CAQ scores (i.e. mean social adaptation, attachment to their institution and personal-emotional adaptation to university).

Results showed a significant main effect of impairment onset on students’ social adaptation, and no other main effects on any of the other CAQ subscales. Additionally, a three-way statistically significant effect was observed for type of impairment, perceived visibility and severity of impairment only for social adaptation. These results are consistent with previous research findings addressing the issue of social adaptation to university for disabled students. More research, however, is clearly needed in exploring the complexity of adaptation processes that disabled students experience in university life taking into consideration other socio-cultural factors as well.