Psychological and academic adaptation of mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong universities

Baohua YU*, Anita S. MAK, Peter BODYCOTT

*Corresponding author for this work

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

17 Citations (Scopus)


Existing research on the psychological and academic experiences of China-born students studying outside of China has mainly been conducted in Western English-speaking countries. Using a coping resources framework, we investigated the predictors of psychological and academic adaptation of 2,201 mainland Chinese students (74% female) studying in universities in Hong Kong, China’s Special Administrative Region and a former British colony. We found that academic self-efficacy, social support, and low levels of perceived discrimination predicted both psychological and academic adaptation. Language competence in English and the local dialect Cantonese was found to be additional factors in mainland Chinese students’ academic adaptation. Implications for future research and higher education policies and practices are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1552-1564
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number8
Early online date22 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This study is supported by General Research Fund (GRF 840313) funded by Hong Kong University Grants Committee (UGC).


  • Academic adaptation
  • Chinese student
  • coping resources
  • intergroup contact
  • perceived discrimination
  • psychological adaptation


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