Coping and Self-Construal: An Exploratory Study on the Cross-Cultural Adjustment of Chinese International Students in Australia

Ms Lena Zhang (). Coping and Self-Construal: An Exploratory Study on the Cross-Cultural Adjustment of Chinese International Students in Australia Professional Doctorate, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Ms Lena Zhang
Thesis Title Coping and Self-Construal: An Exploratory Study on the Cross-Cultural Adjustment of Chinese International Students in Australia
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Thesis type Professional Doctorate
Supervisor Judith Murray
John McLean
Total pages 184
Total black and white pages 184
Abstract/Summary Abstract Australia has long been an attractive education destination for international tertiary students, particularly those from Asia-Pacific nations (Australia Bureau of Statistics, 2007). In particular, Chinese international students have been the main group the international students studying in Australia (Australian Education International, 2009a). Research has shown that international students often experience acculturative stressors, which are manifested in various physical, social and psychological problems. The aim of this study is to examine whether coping strategies along with self-construals (interdependent and independent) mediated or moderated the relationship between acculturative stress and well-being. In this study, international students (N= 160) who are ethnically Chinese completed a battery of five self-reported measures. Well-being in this study was examined by both negative aspect (i.e., psychological distress), and positive aspect (i.e., satisfaction with life). Principal component analysis with a three-factor extraction was performed on the Brief COPE (Scheier & Weintraub, 1989) to ascertain if the three previously determined theoretical coping styles (i.e., emotion-focused, problem-focused, and dysfunctional coping) were appropriate for the population considered in this study. Hierarchical multiple regressions were used to explore the moderating and mediating effects of the three coping strategies and self-construals on acculturative stress and psychological outcomes. Principal component analysis of the Brief COPE revealed coping styles that were more appropriate for the consideration of the international students in this study. External emotional management composed of items reflecting emotional support, instrumental support, venting and religion. Internal cognitive management consisted of items such as planning, active coping, acceptance, and positive reframing, while Avoidant coping consisted of humour, denial, behavioural disengagement, self-distraction, substance use, and self-blame. Results indicated that internal cognitive management moderated the relationship between acculturative stress and psychological distress. Chinese international students who utilised a greater level of internal cognitive management experienced lower levels of psychological distress. In addition, Chinese international students who exhibited a greater independent self-construal showed less psychological distress at high levels of acculturative stress. On the other hand, Chinese international students with high interdependent self-construal experienced greater satisfaction with life, regardless of the level of acculturative stress. Neither coping strategies nor self-construals show any mediating effects.
Keyword acculturative stress
psychological wellbeing

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Created: Mon, 31 May 2010, 22:02:44 EST by Ms Lena Zhang