American University
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Willingness to seek help in college students with learning disabilities

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posted on 2023-08-04, 14:40 authored by Heather Michelle Hartman-Hall

Eighty-six undergraduate and graduate university students with previously diagnosed learning disabilities (LD's) were asked to rate their willingness to seek help from formal academic services in response to two different experimental manipulations. Students were presented with hypothetical situations in which they were asked to imagine that they were making a request for help; these situations varied in valence (positive vs. negative response to the request) and in respondent to the request (professor vs. peer). Students reported the most willingness to seek help after reading about a positive reaction from a professor and the least willingness to seek help in response to a professor's negative reaction. Two hypothetical radio advertisements that varied in type of motivational goal emphasized (learning vs. performance) were also presented; students reported somewhat more willingness to seek help in response to the advertisement emphasizing performance goals. Students who viewed their LD's as more stigmatizing, nonmodifiable, and global were less likely than students with more neutral or positive views of their LD's to report willingness to seek help in response to negative situations and also had lower overall self-esteem. Previous experiences with help-seeking appeared to affect willingness to seek help only in response to the performance goals advertisement. No gender differences in help-seeking were found in the present study. A relationship between time of diagnosis and willingness to seek help was found only for the positive situations. Views of one's LD and having used academic services were not found to be related. Implications for intervention with these students, limitations of the present study, and suggestions for future research are discussed.



American University




Ph.D. American University 2000.


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