Award Date

5-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Department

Social Work

First Committee Member

Kathleen L. Bergquist

Second Committee Member

MaryAnn Overcamp-Martini

Third Committee Member

An-Pyng Sun

Fourth Committee Member

Amei Amei

Number of Pages

77

Abstract

Drawing on data from 137 Chinese students who enrolled in a large research university in the Southwest of the United States, this quantitative study examined the relationships between Chinese students’ acculturative stress, English proficiency, social support, and coping strategies. This study utilized a survey method and employed four previously established questionnaires; moreover, the use of these questionnaires was to examine students’ acculturative stress, as it is the dependent variable of this study.

In data analysis, t-test and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to compare means and standard deviations of Chinese students’ acculturative stress through students’ demographics and characteristics. The linear correlational analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between acculturative stress, English proficiency, social support, and coping strategies. In addition, a hierarchical linear regression was performed to test the predictive power of each studied variable on acculturative stress, controlling for age, gender, home region, marital status, length of stay, and source of funding.

The results of t-test and ANOVA showed that the mean difference in marital status and source of funding were statistically significant in acculturative stress. Students with significant others and with family funding more likely to report less acculturative stress. The results of the linear correlational analyses indicated that students with higher levels of English proficiency (perceived and TOFEL) reportedly experienced lower levels of acculturative stress related to language insufficiency, social isolation, academic pressure, and guilt toward family. Social support from significant others was also significantly and negatively correlated with acculturative stress related to academic pressure. In addition, students who use suppressive and reactive coping strategies are more likely to report more acculturative stress related to language insufficiency, social isolation, perceived discrimination, academic pressure, and guilt toward family. Controlling for age, gender, region, marital status, source of funding, and length of stay, results of a linear regression revealed that students who use suppressive and reactive coping strategies are more likely to report higher levels of acculturative stress.

The findings of this study can inform higher education institutional officials and cross-cultural mental health professionals in addressing Chinese students’ acculturative stress during their temporary stay in the United States. By examining the cultural composition of their acculturative stress, English proficiency, social support, and coping strategies, this study hopes to contribute to the existing literature in understanding the challenges Chinese students face while in their undergraduate studies.

Keywords

Acculturative stress; Chinese international students; Coping strategies; English proficiency; Social support

Disciplines

Social Work

Language

English


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Social Work Commons

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