The Interplay of International Students' Acculturative Stress, Social Support, and Acculturation Modes

By Sullivan, Christopher; Kashubeck-West, Susan | Journal of International Students, Spring 2015 | Go to article overview

The Interplay of International Students' Acculturative Stress, Social Support, and Acculturation Modes


Sullivan, Christopher, Kashubeck-West, Susan, Journal of International Students


Abstract

This study examined the relationship between acculturation modes (assimilation, integration, separation and marginalization), social support, and acculturative stress in undergraduate and graduate international students (N=104) at a medium-sized public university in the Midwestern United States. The study found that international students with broad-based social support and an Integration approach to acculturation experienced lower levels of acculturative stress. Implications for more effective counseling with international students are addressed.

Keywords: international students, acculturation, acculturative stress, social support

University-level study is fraught with stress and difficulties (Sharkin, 2006). For many undergraduate students, going away to college is the first of many important changes: life away from the security of home and family, independence, and growing responsibility. Graduate study is, in turn, another change requiring yet better time management skills with additional academic requirements and pressure. These common stresses and challenges associated with university study are substantially increased for the 820,000 international students currently in the United States (IIE, 2013). In addition to having to deal with all of the challenges and changes their U.S. classmates do, international students are also confronted with a wide variety of potential new challenges: language barriers, lack of familiarity with the academic system, immersion in a new culture, and the loss of closeness to family and friends (Misra, Crist, & Bur ant, 2003; Searle & Ward, 1990; Wilton & Constantine, 2003).

International students in the U.S. have long been the subject of studies. Much of the research done in recent years has investigated international student distress associated with culture shock (e.g., Fumham, 2004; Ward, Bochner, & Fumham, 2001), psychological difficulties associated with their arrival in the US (e.g., Clark Oropeza, Fitzgibbon, & Baron, 1991; Sandhu, 1994), and help seeking behaviors (e.g., Hayes & Lin, 1994; Komiya & Eelss, 2001). Acculturative stress is another prominent factor for international students and has also been of interest to a number of researchers (Yeh & Inose, 2003; Poyzrali, Kavanaugh, Baker, & Al-Timimi, 2004; Constantine, Okazaki, & Utsey, 2004; Olaniran, 1993). Acculturative stress has been defined as "one kind of stress, in which the stressors are identified as having their source in the process of acculturation; [with] a particular set of stress behaviors that occur during acculturation, such as lowered mental health status (especially confusion, anxiety, depression), feelings of marginality and alienation, heightened psychosomatic symptoms, and identity confusion" (Berry, 1995, p. 479). While these symptoms of distress are similar to other stress responses, acculturative stress has been identified as resulting from and arising out of the act of moving to and living in a new culture, including somatic manifestations, depression, anxiety and decreased self-esteem. In addition to the difficulties international students experience with cultural change, several researchers have explored how academic demands and perfectionism are also associated with elevated levels of acculturative stress (Nilsson, Butler, Shouse, & Joshi, 2008; Rice, Choi, Zhang, Morero, & Anderson, 2012).

Closely associated with the formulation of acculturative stress is the larger matter of how individuals adapt to a new culture, a process referred to in the literature as acculturation, with Berry's (1980) bidirectional model the most widely referred to and used (Berry, 1995). The acculturation mode is identified as an individual's level of desired contact with the host culture as well as the home culture. The four resulting categories are related to the attitude or perspective acculturating individuals take with regards to the host culture and people (host nationals) as well as toward the individual's home culture and people (co-nationals). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Interplay of International Students' Acculturative Stress, Social Support, and Acculturation Modes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.