Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Child and Family Studies


Eunjoo Jung

Second Advisor

Rachel Razza


Acculturation, Acculturative stress, Adjustment, Chinese international students, Depression, Social support

Subject Categories

Educational Psychology


Cross-cultural living can be exciting but also challenging, as it may be accompanied by stress due to constant adaption to a series of continual changes. In addition to adjusting to a new physical environment, individuals must also make psychological adjustments. This study explored Chinese international students' acculturation processes through an examination of the association between acculturative stress, students' perceived social support and symptoms of depression. The study applied the modified conceptual framework from the acculturation model and the stress and coping theory to assess how students' acculturation experience affected their psychological well-being. Also, other contextual factors associated with this acculturation process are measured and cultural attitudes and beliefs regarding the meaning of depression are discussed.

Data was collected through an online survey of Chinese international students enrolled at Syracuse University. Of 545 Chinese international students who participated in this survey, 236 responses were included in this study.

Results revealed that students with less acculturative stress experienced a better adjustment outcome and showed lower levels of depression. Moreover, perceived social support functioned as a moderator for the association between acculturative stress and depression only when students experienced a high level of acculturative stress. It was also found that a student's English language competency significantly affected his or her acculturative stress level. Thus, the results emphasize the importance of English language competency during the acculturation process.

Based on the findings of the current study, practical suggestions are made for educators and professionals to help Chinese international students facilitate cultural adjustment and also to enhance the services and programs American universities offer to their international students.


Open Access