Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award

5-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Jackie Halstead

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dean Campbell

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Sara B. Salkil

Abstract

American first-year college students are faced with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, which can have a negative impact on their academic performance. Research shows that students who suffer from mental illness, such as anxiety and depression, fear their condition will be perceived negatively by their peers and professors. The literature also suggests that U.S. colleges and universities can be more proactive in offering students resources for their mental health concerns to decrease anxiety and depression. It appears that absent or limited mental health resources have failed to address rising cases of student mental illness, and more specifically, the most common of these illnesses, anxiety and depression. The purpose of this case study was to understand the nature of constrained mental health resources for college students at a university in North Texas. The theory of planned behavior is aligned with this study, which suggests that behavior can be divided into four parts: behavioral intentions, attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. This qualitative study used questionnaires to understand student behavior and attitudes toward their condition as well as interviews with members of faculty to understand their experiences dealing with students’ mental illnesses at a university in North Texas. Analysis of the responses demonstrated that many students recently experienced anxiety and/or depression or other psychological disorders. Furthermore, faculty members expressed their concern about the increasing and disturbing student behaviors they believe are connected to some form of a psychological disorder. The results indicate that anxiety and depression have an impact on first-year college students and that faculty members are concerned. On this basis, this study recommends that colleges and universities utilize online mental health services as a resource for students. Further research is needed to identify how online mental health services can benefit U.S. college students.

Keywords: anxiety, depression, online mental health offerings, psychological distress

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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