Navigating dyslexia and social identity: Undergraduate students’ experiences following diagnosis

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Objectives: Over 80% of people with dyslexia will leave school without a diagnosis; For those who cannot afford to pay privately, diagnosis is rarely an option (APPG, 2019). An assessment is often sought out in higher education once a tipping point is reached, following careful consideration of benefits and implications, such as stigma and disclosure. The aim of this doctoral research was to explore and develop an understanding of the influences receiving a diagnosis of dyslexia during the first academic year at university has on students' social and personal identity development, and to develop a substantive theoretical model.

    Design: A constructivist grounded theory methodological approach was used to generate, construct, and analyse data.

    Methods: The study included 14 participants (10 female; 4 male) from one Welsh University. Data were collected longitudinally across an academic year through semi-structured interviews. This included experience of emergency online learning due to COVID-19 restrictions, and associated delays in access to assistive technology and support.

    Results: A model of social identity formation of first year dyslexic students diagnosed at university is presented.  The findings further highlight the importance of social groups and social identities, with multiple group memberships being a protective buffer. The findings also emphasize the process of developing multiple / crossed social categorisations, and the role of commitment in the development of conflicting social identities of ‘student’ and ‘dyslexic’.

    Conclusions: This research highlights the importance of social support for successful transition and gives a novel perspective on the coping mechanisms deployed when dealing with adverse and unprecedented stressful experiences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusIn preparation - 2022
    EventPsychology of Education Section Annual Conference 2022: Educational Support and Inclusion: Researching Individual Differences to Support Learning - Wolfson College, Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
    Duration: 14 Sep 202215 Sep 2022


    ConferencePsychology of Education Section Annual Conference 2022
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    Dive into the research topics of 'Navigating dyslexia and social identity: Undergraduate students’ experiences following diagnosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this