Shedding light on students with support needs: comparisons of stress, self-efficacy, and disclosure

Elizabeth Hitches, Stuart Woodcock*, John Ehrich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


More and more students attend university and a large number of those experience difficulties at some point throughout their degree. Furthermore, many students who experience difficulties in need of help from the universities’ support services do not disclose their additional needs and/or disabilities (AND), and thus, little is known about this population. A range of internal and external demands or stressors may be experienced by university students which can often impact upon their learning and performance. This study aims to provide insight into the academic stress and academic self-efficacy levels of university students, comparing those with and without AND, and importantly, comparing those who have and have not disclosed and received help from university support services. The results show that students with AND have higher levels of stress and lower levels of self-efficacy in comparison to their peers. Moreover, the population of students with AND who did not disclose and seek support from their university were found to experience significantly lower self-efficacy in regard to navigating university in comparison to those who had disclosed and sought university support. Implications and recommendations from the findings are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Diversity in Higher Education
Early online date27 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2021


  • additional needs
  • disabilities
  • self-efficacy
  • stress
  • support services


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