This qualitative study examined resilience factors of eight university and college
students with learning disabilities as revealed through retrospective interviews. This
study has added to the existing literature surrounding resilience especially as it relates to
individuals with learning disabilities. This study may provide additional insight into the
emotional impacts of repeated and chronic risks on students with learning disabilities.
The major themes that emerged using the interpretive phenomenological analysis method
(Smith & Osborn, 2003) were organized under these four major headings: Challenges and
Obstacles, Surviving Challenges, Supportive Conditions, and A Journey of Discovery
and Hope. An adaptation of the listening guide analytical method (Gilligan, Spencer,
Weinberg, & Bertsch, 2003) was also utilized and offered a more personal depiction of
the participants and an exploration of the unique contributions their stories made to this
study. Specifically, a theme of feeling trapped/wanting to escape emerged as a reaction
to adversity faced during elementary school years. Furthennore, this study has
demonstrated that for several of the participants, the benefits of positive outlets extended
beyond nurturing areas of strength and self-esteem to also include the provision of a short
respite from their challenges and enhanced feelings of overall well-being. Additionally,
this study may add to the existing literature surrounding character traits evident in
resilient students, specifically highlighting the significance of optimism and selfacceptance.
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