An investigation of the relationship between adaptational coping process and self-perceived negative feelings on international students



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Texas Tech University


Contact with a different culture creates new dimensions and cultural perspectives to deal with for an individual. This is briefly called intercultural relations. In an intercultural encounter, the person involves his/her own cultural background and tries to establish a sense of belonging to the new one which is the host culture. Demands of the host culture might be different for many aspects. For an intemational student, the case is ahnost similar. Intemational students come to the USA for studying in a specific field which requires a challenge of hard work. In addition, being and adapting to a new culture also make the situation even harder.

The present study investigates intemational students' adaptational coping process. How do they cope with various acculturative stresses? What kind of coping pattem do they use? How is their coping process related to their affective experiences? Do their nationality, gender, age, length of stay in the host culture, student status, and marital status make difference to their adaptive coping process?

This study has been conducted on 322 subjects from the Middle East, Southeast, and Far East Asia. For the measurement of coping and self-perceived negative feelings, separate instmments have been developed and validated. Descriptive statistics, multivariate analysis of variance and multiple regression analysis were used to investigate the differences and the relationships exist between concemed populations.

The findings suggest that coping process with acculturative stresses for intemational students is very complex, and the understanding of their adaptive process requires many considerations. The results confirmed that adaptive coping process is, to some extent, related to their self-perceived negative feelings. The relationship between coping and negative feelings varies with regard to the type of coping and other variables involves in the process. The relationship between general coping and negative feelings is linear positive; however, the relationship between each type of coping and negative feelings depends on coping domain such as action- or emotion-focused coping. There is a highly positive linear relationship between emotion-focused coping and negative feelings. For different coping patterns, different variabilities have to be taken into account. Different level of coping and coping mechanisms are used by all intemational students. The differences emerge from being female-male, undergraduate-graduate, single-married, and having different nationality. The researcher recommended replication of or further studies with larger sample sizes and with different other populations.