How university students with reading difficulties are supported in achieving their goals

Holly L. Stack-Cutler*, Rauno K. Parrila, Markku Jokisaari, Jari Erik Nurmi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We examine (a) what social ties university students with a history of reading difficulty (RD) report assisting them to achieve their goals, (b) outlets available for developing social ties, (c) resources mobilized within these relationships, and (d) the impact of social ties’ status on academic achievement. Participants were 107 university students with RD who were currently completing or had recently completed a university degree. Results showed that university students with RD named friends, parents, and significant others (e.g., boy/girlfriend, spouse) as social ties most often. Personal social ties were developed through social media networking sites and within close relationships, and institutional social ties through academic centers and university general services, among others. Resources mobilized among personal and institutional social ties included emotional and social support, advice and planning, writing and studying help, and goal setting. Institutional social ties also afforded job search assistance, accommodations, skill development, financial support, and mental health services. Finally, the status of employed, but not student, social ties explained academic achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-334
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • reading difficulties
  • social capital
  • goal achievement


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