Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Scott Self

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Marisa Beard

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dianne Reed


The unique set of impairments and limitations presented by students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) make the accessing of campus-based nonacademic resources more difficult and complicated than their typically developed peers. Each year, the rate of students entering college with disabilities continues to grow, but their mental well-being is relatively poor. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to apply the conceptual framework of the Andersen behavioral model of health services use (ABMHSU) to the experiences of college students with ASD to understand and predict their utilization of campus-provided mental health resources. The participants were seven college students with ASD who were currently receiving accommodations through Disability Services Program (pseudonym) at Tumbleweed University (pseudonym). Data were collected through demographic questionnaires and virtual interviews. The data were analyzed by breaking the interview responses down into predisposing, enabling, and need-based factors described in the ABMHSU. These data were compared to past literature also using the ABMHSU. The findings indicated that the predisposing factors that influence utilization were the presence of past illness, social structure, and attitudes toward health services. The enabling factors that influenced utilization were type of regular source of care and access to regular source of care. The need-based factors that influenced utilization were perceived general state, symptoms, and diagnosis. The main conclusion drawn from this study is that connecting students to counseling is not enough; they need to be encouraged to keep going. The participants indicated that the social impairments of ASD could make maintaining relationships and communicating difficult. Discovering the reasons for the discontinuation of the utilization of mental health services will help service program personnel anticipate them and encourage engagement.

Creative Commons License

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



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