Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Special Education

First Advisor

Colleen Thoma

Second Advisor

John Kregel

Third Advisor

Kevin Sutherland

Fourth Advisor

Michael Broda

Fifth Advisor

Michael Gamel-McCormick


This study was performed as the result of gaps in the literature in the area of transition to independent living (IL) using secondary data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS-2). Its findings identify individual, skills, family, and school factors that predict postsecondary living status and moderators of the relationships between predictors and the outcome. Specifically, results indicated the following factors as predicting postsecondary living status: individual factors (ethnicity and disability label), skills (self-care, functional mental, personal autonomy, self-realization, and social), family factors (parental expectations and parental involvement in school), and school factors (student’s role in transition planning and having IL as the primary IEP goal). The following factors also emerged as moderators: ethnicity, disability label, mental skills, social skills, personal autonomy, and having IL as the primary goal. Performing analyses on secondary data, although providing the advantage of large numbers of participants, also result in limitations that were considered when making recommendations. Future research should investigate the accuracy of findings regarding skills predictors, and probe for better understanding of decision making during transition planning and participants’ experiences. Policy should include transition planning specifically for IL and postsecondary follow-up for this outcome, while practice should focus on incorporating planning for IL during transition planning, addressing cultural diversity in transition, and helping parents develop high and realistic expectations for their children.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission