Relationship between self-efficacy beliefs and socio-cultural adjustment of international graduate students and American graduate students.
There are many benefits to the presence of international students on American campuses such as increase in diversity and economic contribution (AEC, 2000). However, many international students struggle with adjusting to a new culture (Hubbard, 1994) which may result in attrition, diminished performance, and difficulties in interpersonal relationships (Matsumoto et al., 2001). Researchers have found that students’ beliefs and feelings about themselves are likely to positively correlate with their overall adjustment. Therefore the purpose of this study was to examine the cultural adjustment of international graduate students as compared to American graduate students and to examine the factors that contribute to self-efficacy beliefs in students from both groups. The research was conducted at a private, midsized university in Texas and a mixed method design was employed. Quantitative data were collected through the General Self-efficacy Scale, the Socio-cultural Adaptation Scale, and a demographic form. Qualitative data were gathered through responses to open-ended questions. The sample was stratified based on age and gender and consisted of 100 international graduate students and 100 American graduate students. Major conclusions include the following: general self-efficacy beliefs and students’ perceptions of their cultural adjustment were not related to one another when examined with samples of international graduate students and American graduate students at an American university. In addition, there was no difference between the general self-efficacy beliefs of the international graduate students as compared to general self-efficacy (GSE) beliefs of American graduate students. Students in both samples scored high on GSE as compared to normative sample, and students’ status did not appear to have an influence on their general self-efficacy beliefs. A statistically significant difference was found between international graduate students and American graduate students’ perceptions of their socio-cultural adaptation, p < .001. Students’ responses to open-ended items were consistent with previous findings that factors such as academic performance, social networks, goodness of the match between the individual and university’s resources, and perceived satisfaction influence students’ adjustment to their new environment.