Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Maria T. Riva

Second Advisor

Denis Dumas

Third Advisor

Emily Muther

Fourth Advisor

Sarah Watamura


Chronic illness, Cystic fibrosis, Disease disclosure, Health-related quality of life, Perceived stigma, Self-compassion


Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a life-limiting genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. Recent advances in CF-related healthcare have improved the life expectancy of individuals with CF from childhood to approximately 50 years old (CFF, 2020). Therefore, more individuals with CF are attending college and facing challenges within this new stage of life. This study examined perceived stigma, disease disclosure, self-compassion, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a sample of current and former college students with CF to understand their psychosocial experience of managing their illness while in college. Results indicated that perceived stigma and HRQoL were negatively related and perceived stigma and self-compassion predicted HRQoL. Disease disclosure was also examined to uncover the frequency and comfort of disclosure within this sample, which found that the participants most frequently disclosed to close friends (n=33/34), followed by casual friends/acquaintances (n=27/34), professors (n=24/34), then their romantic partner/spouse (n=17/19). Participants reported they felt most comfortable disclosing their disease to their romantic partner/spouse and close friends. These results can help inform CF-related care and support by shedding light on the significance of perceived stigma and self-compassion in predicting HRQoL, and disease disclosure as an important step in the process of adapting to life as a college student with CF.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Anna R. Hangge


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

109 pgs


Clinical psychology, Health sciences, Higher education

Available for download on Thursday, September 26, 2024