The current study was an exploratory and descriptive study and examined the relationship between perceived visibility of disability, attributional style for positive events, attributional style for negative events, psychosocial adjustment to disability, perceived self-advocacy skill, and the multidimensional construct of student adaptation to college, which includes academic adjustment, social adjustment, personal/emotional adjustment, institutional attachment, and current semester grade point average (GPA) for college students with disabilities. Furthermore, this study investigated the differences between the attributional style for positive events, attributional style for negative events and student adaptation to college for students with disabilities as compared to students without disabilities.
The data used for analysis were obtained through an on-line survey administration of the following instruments: a demographic questionnaire containing questions asking participants to rate the perceived visibility of their disability and asking for current semester GPA, the Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ; Peterson, Semmel, von Baeyer, Abramson, Metalsky, & Seligman, 1982), the adjustment scale of the Reaction to Impairment and Disability Inventory (RIDI; Livneh & Antonak, 1990), a measure of perceived self-advocacy skill specifically developed by the researcher for the purposes of this study, and the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ; Baker & Siryk, 1989).
Results indicate clearly that when considering the differences between those participants with disabilities and those without disabilities, the non-disabled group scored significantly higher for social adjustment, personal/emotional adjustment, and institutional attachment. In terms of attributional style, the disability group scored higher indicating a more internal, stable, and global attributional style for both positive events and negative events.
Further analysis conducted using just the disability group data revealed many significant and practically important bivariate correlations between variables including self-advocacy skill, institutional attachment, personal/emotional adjustment, social adjustment, and overall student adaptation to college. Canonical correlation determined a significant interrelationship between the predictive domains (student characteristics) and the criterion domains (adjustment outcomes) which were explained by a single canonical pair. 16% of the adjustment outcome variance was explained by the student characteristic variables. This explanation was due to a relatively strong relationship between Positive Student Response and Positive Adjustment Outcomes (the single canonical pair).