A Sense of Belonging Among College Students With Disabilities: An Emergent Theoretical Model

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Journal of College Student Development, ISSN: 1543-3382, Vol: 56, Issue: 7, Page: 670-686

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http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/hdf_facpubs/25; https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1024&context=hdf_facpubs
Vaccaro, Annemarie; Daly-Cano, Meada; Newman, Barbara M.
Johns Hopkins University Press; DigitalCommons@URI
Social Sciences
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Higher education research suggests that the development of a sense of belonging is key to academic success and persistence, yet we know little about how first-year students with disabilities develop a sense of belonging as they transition into and through their first year in postsecondary environments. Themes from a grounded theory study of 8 college students, most of whom had invisible disabilities, provided the foundation for an emerging model of belonging. Student narratives suggest there are interconnections between the development of a sense of belonging, self-advocacy, social relationships, and mastery of the student role for first-year students with disabilities.