How does acculturation stress relate to international student adjustment?

There are several factors associated with acculturation stress that can have a negative impact on international students’ adjustment. Some of these factors include experiences of racism, feelings of loneliness, academic concerns (Chavajay & Skowronek, 2008; Dao, Lee, & Chang, 2007), and lack of social support (Chen, Mallinckrodt, & Mobley, 2002). These can make the process of adjustment to the host country difficult for international students.

Are there different types of acculturation strategies?

Yes. Acculturation is bidimensional with an orientation towards the host culture and/or towards one’s original/home culture (Berry, 1997). Based on Berry’s model, there are four types — Assimilation (adopts to host culture over original culture), Separation (reject host culture in favor of preserving culture of origin), Integration (adopt the cultural norms of both host and home culture), and Marginalization (reject both host and home cultures). Integration has been found most adaptive. Differing acculturation strategies can be effective depending on the person using them and their unique situation. Some strategies that have been proposed by research include viewing host country news coverage and television programs (Reece & Palmgreen, 2000), having strong personal relationships with host country residents (Kashima & Loh, 2006), and use of forebearance coping (Wei, Liao, Heppner, Chao & Ku, 2011).

What is the acculturation process & timeline?

The acculturation process differs based on a range of factors, including country of origin, host country, and other individual (Wilton & Constantine, 2003; Ying, 2005; Ying, 2006; Wang, Heppner, Fu, Zhao, Li, & Chuang, 2012). In general, acculturation occurs in a “U Shape” model with most difficulties occuring close to arrival and departure from the host country (Brown & Holloway, 2008).

What types of personality are associated with better/poorer adjustment?

Research evidence suggests that personality factors are important for adjustment when international students are traveling to more individualistic cultures (Jang & Kim, 2010; Yakunina, Weigold, Weigold, Hercegovac & Elsayed, 2013). Maladpative perfectionistic tendies seem to be associated with poorer adjustment (Rice, Choi, Zhang, Morero, & Anderson, 2012) while high self-esteem, positive problem-solving appraisal, and lower levels of perfectionism are associated with better adjustment (Wang, Heppner, Fu, Zhao, Li, & Chuang, 2012).

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