Do consumers of mental health services favor pursuing online education as opposed to education in more traditional settings?
Kelly A. Leonhard, Capella University, United States
Doctor of Philosophy, Capella University . Awarded
Online services and resources have become increasingly more prevalent over the past decade, and included in this group of services is the delivery of online education; the use of online education by individuals living with mental health disorders has not been studied extensively to this point. This study examined reasons for choosing online education for a sample of 385 learners drawn from traditional and online institutions of higher learning. The current study revealed that 22.1% of the online learners identified themselves as having a mental health disorder or diagnosis, which exceeds the 19.1% of learners identifying themselves as having a mental health disorder or illness found in traditional learning environments. Learners who identified themselves as having a mental health disorder or illness cited significantly different reasons for choosing online learning than the individuals learning in a traditional environment; the chi-square, X2calc = 71.36 (0.05, 17df, X2crit = 27.587). The most prevalent mental health challenge within this online learning population of learners was found to be Depression, followed by Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The freedom from the need to commute, course selection and flexibility, and ability to control the timing of course room interactions was cited by many learners identifying themselves as consumers of mental health services as a compelling issue for learning online. Feeling safe, coursework pacing, and privacy were not correlated within the sample of learners using online learning and identifying themselves as using mental health services. Online learners who also identified themselves as having a mental health disorder or diagnosis were no more likely to withdraw from school than were other learners.
Leonhard, K.A. Do consumers of mental health services favor pursuing online education as opposed to education in more traditional settings?. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Capella University.
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