Academic Scholarship

Asian students' adjustment: Influence of personality, gender roles, academic self-efficacy.

International Journal of Intercultural Relations, September 2013

Photo Needed Ji-Yeon Lee, Ph.D.
Dept of Professional Psychology and Family Therapy
Ayse Ciftci

The number of international students (ISs) enrolled in higher education in the U.S. is increasing each year (Lee & Rice, 2007), and Asian ISs account for 62% of the total number of ISs in the U.S. (Institute of International Education, 2011). Previous research has shown that there are common difficulties among Asian ISs, such as a lack of social support and issues related to different academic environments (Ying & Liese, 1994).

Unlike immigrants who plan to live in the U.S. permanently, ISs may consider their stay in the U.S. to be temporary, and thus they may try to balance maintaining their traditional roles and adjusting to the new culture (Bochner, 1972). Asian ISs, in particular, come from cultures that have different values from highly individualistic societies like the U.S., and they may experience more conflict when compromising their traditional roles vs. a new cultural norm (Sam & Eide, 1991). When an individual's environment is not matched with their personality, there is cultural distance. Ward and Chang (1997) proposed the cultural fit hypothesis of the acculturation process, which emphasizes the fit between the host culture's norm and the person who is acculturating such as the person's values, personality traits, and behavior. Empirical study supports the theory by showing that fit between the individual and the cultural context in terms of values, beliefs, and personality characteristics is associated with individuals’ well-being (Juang, Nguyen, & Lin, 2006).

Multicultural personality is defined as traits that “effectively negotiates and copes within multiple roles and cultural contexts (Leone, Van der Zee, Oudenhoven, Perugini, & Ercolani, 2005, p. 717).” Individual characteristics such as multicultural personality and assertiveness could help ISs make up the cultural distance between their home country and the host culture by helping them acquire needed social support and confidence in their academic skills in the U.S. without losing their own cultural identity. In this study, based on the literature, we used multicultural personality and multicultural effectiveness interchangeably.


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