Health-related quality of life in chronically-ill college students: examining influential constructs

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Jacob M. Burmeister


Individuals with chronic illness are prone to experiencing stigmatization associated with their illness (Ginsburg & Link, 1993); these individuals often utilize an avoidant coping style (Philips, 1987) and are vulnerable to poor social support. Existing literature describes how the chronically ill encounter these constructs, yet the impact of these factors on college students' health-related quality of life and psychological functioning is not understood. Two studies tested the hypotheses that stigma, avoidant coping, and social functioning are associated with HRQoL and psychological well-being in undergraduate students who have chronic illness. Participants were undergraduates diagnosed with at least one chronic illness. Participants completed self-report measures online. In Study 1 (N = 140), stigma, avoidant coping, and social support significantly predicted diminished HRQoL, depression, and anxiety. Study 2 (N = 193) confirmed the results of Study 1, finding that stigma, avoidant coping, and social support significantly predict diminished HRQoL, depression, and anxiety; findings across both studies supported hypotheses. Findings suggest that college students with chronic illness face significant challenges associated with and during their undergraduate career.


Chronically ill Social conditions, College students Health and hygiene, College students Mental health, Psychology, chronic illness, college student, psychosocial, health related quality of life, stigma

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Copyright © 2017, author