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A Mixed Method Study Focusing on Adult Dyslexic Higher Education Students and their Experiences with Anxiety and Coping

Abbott-Jones, Amanda; (2019) A Mixed Method Study Focusing on Adult Dyslexic Higher Education Students and their Experiences with Anxiety and Coping. Doctoral thesis (Ed.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

A Mixed Method Study Focusing on Adult Dyslexic Higher Education Students and their Experiences with Anxiety and Coping. Background Adult students with dyslexia can apply for support for their cognitive needs but may also experience anxiety, which less is understood. This thesis aims to test the hypothesis that adult dyslexic learners in higher education (HE) have a higher prevalence of academic and social anxiety than their non-dyslexic peers and will explore the wider emotional consequences of studying with dyslexia and the ways in which adults with dyslexia cope both cognitively and emotionally. Methods The study utilised a mixed method approach and was in two stages. Stage one involved a survey of HE students with dyslexia (N = 102) and without identified dyslexia (N = 72). Students completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory measuring academic and social anxiety. Stage two used an exploratory approach to investigate emotional consequences of studying with dyslexia and types of coping strategies used through the method of semi-structured interviews with 20 dyslexic students. Results The results for stage one revealed a statistically significant effect for academic anxiety, but not for social anxiety. The main findings for stage two showed that: (1) Students’ emotional consequences of studying with dyslexia were characterised by a mixture of negative and positive emotional responses, yet negative responses were more frequently used in response to questions about academic tasks than positive responses; (2) Participants had a lot less to say with regards to coping emotionally, than coping cognitively. However, coping emotionally identified a mixture of coping methods including avoidance; through to participating in exercise; and developing mental resilience. Conclusions Dyslexic students in higher education show anxiety levels that are well above what is shown by students without learning difficulties. The implications of this for practice and for the dyslexia practitioner is that the delivery of strategies to deal with the negative emotional consequences of studying with dyslexia and ways of overcoming avoidance on academic tasks should be seen as just as important, if not more so, than the teaching of interventions to deal with cognitive difficulties associated with dyslexia.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ed.D
Title: A Mixed Method Study Focusing on Adult Dyslexic Higher Education Students and their Experiences with Anxiety and Coping
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Dyslexia, Adults, Higher Education, Anxiety, cognitive coping, emotional coping
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072020
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