Demographic factors in relation to acculturation and acculturative stress: a comparison of international and domestic university students
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Type of Workix, 56 leaves
DepartmentUniversity of Baltimore. Yale Gordon College of Arts and Science
ProgramUniversity of Baltimore. Master of Science in Applied Psychology
RightsThis item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
This study examined the relationship between 207 international and 173 domestic students' demographic factors on acculturation and acculturative stress. It also examined the extent to which cultural values, Uncertainty Avoidance (UA) and Power Distance (PD) might explain two types of acculturative stress: social interaction and localizing. Social interaction acculturative stress refers to the process by which people act and react to those around them, such as making friends or talking about themselves with others. Localizing acculturative stress refers to adjusting to a particular area, such as taking a local perspective on the culture or understanding the local value system. Students from a northern California university completed a self-report survey. Unlike most studies, the present study compares international students to domestic students to be sure that international students' acculturative stress is a result of living in a different culture and not just a matter of moving into a university setting (where nearly all students become independent of their caretakers). As expected, international students had higher acculturative stress than U.S. students, but this difference did not vary by marital status or length of stay. Also, women who came from high UA and large PD countries (vs. low UA and high PD countries) had greater social interaction acculturative stress. Thus, compared to students from the latter cultures, students who were from countries in which there are clear rules and regulations for how to behave and where there are clear demarcations of status experienced greater difficulty making friends, going to social events, and talking about themselves with others. These findings demonstrate that students' cultural backgrounds play an important role in their adaptation. This is an important finding as it signals that counselors in higher education institutes might need to collaborate with academic staff to help international students adjust. Female students from high UA and large PD countries may be especially in need of assistance to cope with acculturative stress. Additional implications and future research needs are discussed.