Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2013

Capstone Advisor

Peter Vanable, Department Chair

Honors Reader

Tanya Eckert, Associate Professor

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Psychology | School Psychology


As medical technologies continue to improve, what used to be considered terminal illnesses are now becoming chronic medical conditions. Studies have consistently shown that children and adolescents with chronic illnesses are more absent from school than their healthy peers (Fowler, Davenport, & Garg, 1992; Taras & Potts-Datema, 2005), and perform poorly in school despite having equitable intelligence levels (Sexson & Madan-Swain, 1993). However, despite thorough documentation of this phenomenon in younger children, there is a lack of research on the effects of chronic illness among college students. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of chronic illness on academic performance, mental health, and quality of life among this understudied population. A total of 209 participants completed a questionnaire that included a variety of measures assessing academic attendance and performance, health, mental health, and past illnesses. It was hypothesized that participants with chronic conditions would demonstrate lower rates of school attendance and academic performance, and higher rates of mental health problems compared to their healthy peers. Although results did not show a statistically significant difference in academic functioning between the two groups, they did reveal that students with chronic medical conditions had significantly higher levels of depression and anxiety, and lower perceived coping ability than their typically-developing peers.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.