Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Brent Williams

Committee Member

Keith Vire

Second Committee Member

Stephanie Luske


Advocacy, Chronic pain, Disabililty, Disclosure, Higher education, Invisible disability, Stigma


Students with chronic pain represent an overlooked population in higher education institutions, due to the barriers their conditions present and the stigma associated with chronic pain. There is existing research examines treatment of elderly populations and best practices for university students with disabilities, facing discrimination. This study sheds light on a gap in the existing research, where a niche population of students in chronic pain navigated disclosure issues and stigma in the academic environment. The purpose of the qualitative research study was to examine how anticipated or experienced stigma associated with chronic pain conditions influenced disclosure of chronic pain for students in higher education. The researcher used Charmaz’s constructivist grounded theory as the model, and the instrument was a semi-constructed interview. Participants for the interview were selected based on answers to a preliminary survey. The researcher created a conceptual framework from the emergent themes.