Student belonging: the impact of disability status within and between academic institutions.

Rebecca Barnes, Alison Faith Kelly, Hilda Mary Mulrooney


Belonging at university is a complex and important issue which relates to student attainment but is more challenging for non-traditional students, including those with disability. This study, part of a larger project, explored differences in academic self-confidence and engagement, belonging, peer belonging and institutional acceptance in those with and without disability in two academic institutions. Quantitative data, collected using a series of statements in online questionnaires, indicated that academic self-confidence was significantly lower in those with disability, as were aspects of peer belonging. By contrast, academic engagement and institutional acceptance did not differ for most statements by disability status. Possible reasons for this, and the implications of the findings, are discussed.


Disability; Academic confidence; Academic belonging

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