A study of the contribution of select factors in the acculturation of international students within the United States
James, Shari-ann Heather
MetadataShow full item record
While research on international students adaptation within the United States has been growing in the last several years, research on positive experiences of international students is limited (Tseng & New ton, 2002). The literature on international students highlights their challenges and difficulties in the United States as they pursue their educational goals (Cheng, 1999; Han, 1996; Lin & Yi, 1997; Ying & Liese, 1994). One variable that highlights the positive psychological perspective of individuals is hope. There have been no studies examining the relationship of hope with international populations (Lopez et al., 2002). Therefore this study proposed to examine the relationship of international students’ personality traits with hope. In addition, international students’ support systems in relation to hope were examined. The present study also sought to provide an empirical foundation for understanding the factors that contribute to the acculturation of international students within the United States. This study explored the positive psychological constructs of hope, optimism and problem solving as well as personality traits and support systems. In addition, problem solving was utilized as a mediating variable which was defined as a complex interplay of cognitive, affective, and behavioral processes for the purpose of adapting to internal or external demands or challenges (Heppner & Krauskopf, 1987). Problem solving was a mediating variable between the relationship of hope and acculturative stress and the relationship between optimism ad acculturative stress. Results indicated that extraverted international students with friendships as part of their support system experienced higher levels of hopefulness. Findings also suggested that international students who are hopeful, with perceptions of their problem solving abilities being effective, with friendships as part of their support system and extraverted have decreased levels of acculturative stress. However, there was no relationship between optimism and acculturative stress. Finally, the results indicated that problem solving as a mediating variable had a small effect on the relationship between hope and acculturative stress. In addition, problem solving had a small effect on the relationship between optimism and acculturative stress although the relationship between optimism and acculturative stress was not significant. Implications of these results are offered as well as recommendations for expanding the research.