Language and Interpersonal Resource Predictors of Psychological and Sociocultural Adaptation: International Students in Hong Kong

Baohua YU*, Peter BODYCOTT, Anita S. MAK

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hong Kong, along with other Asian societies with universities with top world rankings, has in recent years attracted an increasing number of international students, mainly from Asia. Previous research in English-speaking Western countries has indicated the importance of resources, including language proficiency, positive intergroup relations, and social support, in understanding international students’ stress and coping in cross-cultural adaptation. Guided by a similar acculturative stress and coping framework, we investigated predictors of psychological and sociocultural adaptation in a survey sample of 726 international students (62% female and 73% Asian-born) from Hong Kong public universities. We found that English language proficiency, social support, and a low level of perceived discrimination fostered both types of cross-cultural adaptation, while contact with local students and proficiency in the local dialect further enhanced sociocultural adaptation. Implications for future acculturation research and higher education internationalization policies and practices are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-588
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Studies in International Education
Volume23
Issue number5
Early online date30 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study is supported by General Research Fund (GRF 840313) funded by Hong Kong University Grants Committee (UGC).

Keywords

  • acculturation
  • cross-cultural adaptation
  • intercultural contact
  • international student
  • language proficiency
  • perceived discrimination
  • psychological adaptation
  • sociocultural adaptation

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