Challenges in Acculturation among International Students from Asian Collectivist Cultures

  •  Kyunghee Ma    
  •  Ronald Pitner    
  •  Izumi Sakamoto    
  •  Hyun Young Park    


Many international students coming to a U.S. university, especially those coming from a collectivist culture such as Asia, experience acculturation stress due to encountering different cultural norms and values. Lack of available resources may limit their coping ability, and prolonged exposure to acculturation stress may result in a decline in mental health. Asian international students may be at greater risk of developing mental health complications due to additional stressors derived from their cultures such as family recognition through success, emphasis on emotional self-control, and stigma toward mental illness. In this context, accumulated and unresolved acculturation stress may increase psychological vulnerabilities. Despite its relevance, there is no conceptual framework examining acculturation experiences of this student population. This article aims to present a conceptual framework of the acculturation process of Asian international students. Such a framework is important because it not only provides a holistic understanding of the acculturation process for Asian international students, but also provides an avenue for a comprehensive empirical inquiry. Furthermore, research-based evidence will help inform a more effective and inclusive university policy addressing the various needs of international students in order to provide intervention when necessary.

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