West Indian Medical Journal
Print version ISSN 0043-3144
POTTINGER, AM; LA HEE, F and ASMUS, K. Students admitted to university who fail: hidden disabilities affecting students performance. West Indian med. j. [online]. 2009, vol.58, n.2, pp. 99-105. ISSN 0043-3144.
OBJECTIVE: To compare grade point averages and social adjustment and academic difficulties of students with or without a hidden disability at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. METHODS: Comparison groups were identified through the University of the West Indies (UWI) Health Centre, peer-counselling training programme and an undergraduate class. The 165 participants completed a checklist on health, social and academic concerns and provided a copy of their transcripts. students were screened for hidden disabilities including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and psychiatric morbidity. RESULTS: Students with hidden disabilities consistently performed poorer academically than their non-disabled peers, and students with ADHD performed the worst. The high levels of distress common to students with a hidden disability may explain the difference in performance between them and non-disabled students. Students' ability to manage their time, irrespective of having a disability, was singled out as important for obtaining good grades. CONCLUSIONS: Potentially brilliant students are at risk of failing out of university because of hidden disabilities and the associated emotional and social challenges.