The Domains of Cross-Cultural Adjustment

An Empirical Study with International Students

Authors

  • Joana Campos University of Porto
  • Luisa Helena Pinto University of Porto https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8323-9313
  • Thomas Hippler National University of Ireland

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v12i2.2512

Keywords:

domains of cross-cultural adjustment, international students’ adjustment, higher education students, person-environment fit

Abstract

This study examines the dimensionality of a new measure of international students’ adjustment using a sample of 189 international students from a public European University. Drawing on earlier conceptualizations of cross-cultural adjustment as a person-environment fit and a previous scale measuring adjustment from the expatriate literature, this study shows that this scale can be meaningfully adapted to the higher education context. Confirmatory factor analyses identified a stable 8-factor structure with adequate psychometric properties. Descriptive analysis confirms that international students are fairly adjusted in a number of distinct domains. The findings provide criterion-related validity by showing positive associations between host social interaction and host connectedness and students’ adjustment. This study contributes offers a theoretically based scale that assesses international students’ adjustment on a wide range of dimensions. It puts forward a useful tool for higher education counsellors and support services to monitor international students’ adjustment and avoid adjustment difficulties.

Author Biographies

Joana Campos, University of Porto

JOANA CAMPOS, M.Sc., received her master’s in management from the School of Economics in University of Porto. She is currently a Middle Office Analyst at a Portuguese energy company. Research interests include international students’ adjustment, cultural orientation, and issues of multiculturalism and diversity.

Luisa Helena Pinto, University of Porto

LUISA HELENA PINTO, PhD, is an Associate Professor at School of Economics in University of Porto. Her teaching interests include international human resource management, negotiation, and business methods research. Her research interests include global mobility, expatriation, tertiary education, recruiters’ biases, and perceived employability.

Thomas Hippler, National University of Ireland

THOMAS HIPPLER, PhD, was a Senior Lecturer in Management at National University of Ireland, Galway, when he passed away in November 2018. He held previous faculty positions at the University of Essex, at Swansea University, Queen’s University Belfast, and Webster University, Missouri. His research interests included global mobility management, mainly in the topics of international assignments and expatriates cross-cultural adjustment.

References

Abdullah, D., Abd Aziz, M. I., & Mohd Ibrahim, A. L. (2014). A “research” into international student-related research: (Re)Visualising our stand? Higher Education, 67(3), 235-253. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-013-9647-3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-013-9647-3

Anderson, J. R., Guan, Y., & Koc, Y. (2016). The academic adjustment scale: Measuring the adjustment of permanent resident or sojourner students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 54, 68–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2016.07.006 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2016.07.006

Baker, R. W., & Siryk, B. (1984). Measuring adjustment to college. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 31(2), 179–189. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.31.2.179 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.31.2.179

Black, S., & Gregersen, H. B. (1991). The other half of the picture: antecedents of spouse cross-cultural adjustment. Journal of International Business Studies, 22(3), 461-477. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8490311 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8490311

Black, S., & Stephens, G. K. (1989). The influence of the spouse on American expatriate adjust¬ment and intent to stay in Pacific Rim overseas assignments. Journal of Management, 15(4), 529-544. https://doi.org/10.1177/014920638901500403 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/014920638901500403

Black, S., Mendenhall, M., & Oddou, G. (1991). Toward a comprehensive model of in-ternational adjustment: an integration of multiple theoretical perspectives. Academy of Man¬agement Review, 16(2), 291-317. https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.1991.4278938 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.1991.4278938

Bradley, C. (1994). The well-being questionnaire. In C. Bradley (Ed.), Handbook of psychology and diabetes: A guide to psychological measurement in diabetes research and practice (pp. 89-109). Harwood Academic Press.

Brisset, C., Safdarb, S., Lewisb, J. R., & Sabatier, C. (2010). Psychological and sociocultural adaptation of university students in France: The case of Vietnamese international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 34(4), 413–426. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.02.009 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.02.009

Brutt-Griffler, J., Nurunnabi, M., & Kim, S. (2020). International students’ level of preparedness. Journal of International Students, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i4.839 DOI: https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i4.839

Conroy, K. M., & McCarthy, L. (2019). Abroad but not abandoned: supporting student adjustment in the international placement journey. Studies in Higher Education, 1-15. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2019.1673718 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1673718

Church, A. T. (1982). Sojourner adjustment. Psychological Bulletin, 91(3), 540-572. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.91.3.540 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.91.3.540

Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioural science. Lawrence Erlbaum.

Comrey, A. L., & Lee, H. B. (1992). A first course in factor analysis (2nd Ed.). Lawrence Erlbaum.

Derogatis, L. R. (2001). Brief symptom inventory (BSI)-18: Administration, scoring and procedures manual. NCS Pearson Inc. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/t07502-000

Duru, E. & Poyrazli, S. (2011). Perceived discrimination, social connectedness, and other predictors of adjustment difficulties among Turkish international students. International Journal of Psychology, 46(6), 446–454. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2011.585158 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2011.585158

European Commission (2021). Erasmus+ worldwide factsheet, 2014-2020. European Union. https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about/factsheets_en

French, J., Rodgers, W., & Cobb, S. (1974). Adjustment as person-environment fit. In G. V. Coelho, D. A. Hamburg, & J. E. Adams (Eds.), Coping and Adaptation (pp. 316–333). Basic Books.

Gilbreath B, Kim T. Y & Nichols, B. (2011) Person-environment fit and its effects on university students: A response surface methodology study. Research in Higher Education, 52(1), 47-62. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-010-9182-3 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-010-9182-3

Gómez, E.; Urzúa, A. & Glass, C. R. (2014). International student adjustment to college: Social networks, acculturation, and leisure. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 32(1), 7-25.

González, M. S., Tinajero, V. C., Guisande, C. M. A., & Páramo, M. F. (2012). The student adaptation to college questionnaire (SACQ) for use with Spanish students. Psychological Reports, 111(2), 624-640. https://doi.org/10.2466/08.10.20.PR0.111.5.624-640 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2466/08.10.20.PR0.111.5.624-640

Gudykunst, W. B. (1999). Theory and research on intercultural relations: an introduction. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 23(4), 529-534. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0147-1767(99)00008-5

Harzing, A. W. (2004). Ideal jobs and international student mobility in the enlarged European Union. European Management Journal, 22(6), 693–703. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2004.09.032 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2004.09.032

Heng, T. T. (2020). The role of theory in qualitative research: Insights from studies on Chinese international students in higher education. Journal of International Students, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i4.1571 DOI: https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i4.1571

Hippler, T., Caligiuri P., Johnson, J., & Baytalskaya, N. (2014). The development and validation of a theory-based expatriate adjustment scale. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(4), 1938-1959. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2013.870286 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2013.870286

Hu, L.-T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cut-off criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6(1), 1-55. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118

Jing, X., Ghosh, R., Sun, Z., & Liu, Q. (2020). Mapping global research related to international students: a scientometric review. Higher Education, 80(3), 415-433. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00489-y DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00489-y

Johnson, K. (2020). 21st century international higher education hotspots. Journal of International Students, 10(1), v-viii. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i1.1851 DOI: https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i1.1851

Kashima, E. S., & Loh, E. (2006). International students' acculturation: Effects of international, conational, and local ties and need for closure. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30(4), 471-485. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2005.12.003 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2005.12.003

Kline, R. B. (2005). Methodology in the social sciences. Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.

Lee, J., & Ciftci, A. (2014). Asian international students’ socio-cultural adaptation: Influence of multicultural personality, assertiveness, academic self-efficacy, and social support. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 38(1), 97-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.08.009 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.08.009

Lesjak, M., Juvan, E., Ineson, E., Yap, M., & Axelsson, E. (2015). Erasmus student motivation: Why and where to go? Higher Education, 70(5), 845-865. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-015-9871-0 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-015-9871-0

Li, A. & Gasser, M. B. (2005). Predicting Asian international students’ sociocultural adjustment: A test of two mediation models. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 29(5), 561–576. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2005.06.003 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2005.06.003

Merola, R. H., Coelen, R. J., & Hofman, W. H. A. (2019). The role of integration in understanding differences in satisfaction among Chinese, Indian, and South Korean international students. Journal of Studies in International Education, 23(5), 535-553. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315319861355 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315319861355

Mesidor, J. K., & F. Sly, K. (2016). Factors that Contribute to the Adjustment of International Students. Journal of International Students, 6(1). https://www.ojed.org/index.php/jis/article/view/569 DOI: https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v6i1.569

Mikulas, J., & Jitka, S. (2019). Statistical analysis of study abroad experiences of international students in five major host countries of Europe. Journal of International Students, 9(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v9i1.262 DOI: https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v9i1.262

Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development |OECD| (2019). Education at a Glance 2019, OECD Publishing: OECD Publishing. Retrieved September 25, 2019, from: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/content/publication/f8d7880d-en

Papatsiba, V. (2006). Making higher education more European through student mobility? Revisiting EU initiatives in the context of the Bologna Process. Comparative Education, 42(1), 93-111. https://doi.org/10.1080/03050060500515785 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03050060500515785

Pedersen, E. R., Neighbors, C., Larimer, M. E., & Lee, C. M. (2011). Measuring sojourner adjustment among American students studying abroad. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(6), 881-889. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.06.003 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.06.003

Peterson, R. A. (1994). A meta-analysis of Cronbach's coefficient alpha. Journal of Consumer Research, 21(2), 381-391. https://doi.org/10.1086/209405 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/209405

Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J.-Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879-903. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.88.5.879 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.88.5.879

Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1(3), 385–401. https://doi.org/10.1177/014662167700100306 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/014662167700100306

Searle, W., & Ward, C. (1990). The prediction of psychological and sociocultural adjustment during cross-cultural transitions. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 14(4), 449-464. https://doi.org/10.1016/0147-1767(90)90030-Z DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0147-1767(90)90030-Z

Shafaei, A., & Razak, N. A. (2016). International postgraduate students’ cross-cultural adaptation in Malaysia: Antecedents and outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 57(6), 739-767. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-015-9404-9 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-015-9404-9

Smith, M. B. (1955). Some features of foreign student adjustments. Journal of Higher Education, 26(5), 231-241. https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.1955.11779399 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1977725

Smith, R., & Khawaja, N. (2011). A review of the acculturation experiences of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(6), 699-713. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.08.004 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.08.004

Spencer-Oatey, H., & Dauber, D. (2019). What is integration and why is it important for internationalization? A multidisciplinary review. Journal of Studies in International Education, 23(5), 515-534. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315319842346 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315319842346

Stroebe, M., Van Vliet, T., Hewstone, M. & Willis, H. (2002). Homesickness among students in two cultures: Antecedents and consequences. British Journal of Psychology, 93(2), 147–168. https://doi.org/10.1348/000712602162508 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1348/000712602162508

Taylor, M., & Pastor, D. A. (2007). A Confirmatory factor analysis of the student adaptation to college questionnaire. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 67(6), 1002-1018. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164406299125 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164406299125

Thomas, D. C. (1998). The expatriate experience: a critical review and synthesis. In J. L. C. Cheng, & R. B. Peterson (Eds), Advances in International Comparative Management (pp. 237-273). JAI.

Wang, K. T., Heppner, P. P., Fu, C.-C., Zhao, R., Li, F., & Chuang, C.-C. (2012). Profiles of acculturative adjustment patterns among Chinese international students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 59(3), 424-436. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0028532 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0028532

Ward, C., & Kennedy, A. (1999). The measurement of sociocultural adaptation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 23(4), 659-677. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0147-1767(99)00014-0 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0147-1767(99)00014-0

Wilson, J. K. (2013). Exploring the past, present, and future of cultural competency research: The revision and expansion of the Sociocultural Adaptation Construct. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis from the University of Wellington. Retrieved September 25, 2019, from: http://hdl.handle.net/10063/2783

Wilson, J., Ward C., & Fischer, R. (2013). Beyond culture learning theory: What can personality tell us about cultural competence? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(6), 900 – 927. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022113492889 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022113492889

Yang, R. P.-J., & Noels, K. A. (2013). The possible selves of international students and their cross-cultural adjustment in Canada. International Journal of Psychology, 48(3), 316–323. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2012.660161 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2012.660161

Yeh, C. J., & Inose, M. (2003). International students reported English fluency, social support satisfaction, and social connectedness as predictors of acculturative stress. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 16(1), 15-28. https://doi.org/10.1080/0951507031000114058 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0951507031000114058

Yu, B., Bodycott, P., & Mak, A. S. (2019). Language and interpersonal resource predictors of psychological and sociocultural adaptation: International students in Hong Kong. Journal of Studies in International Education, 23(5), 572-588. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315318825336 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315318825336

Zhang, J., & Goodson, P. (2011a). Acculturation and psychosocial adjustment of Chinese international students: Examining mediation and moderation effects. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(5), 614-627. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.11.004 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.11.004

Zhang, J., & Goodson, P. (2011b). Predictors of international students’ psychosocial adjustment to life in the United States: A systematic review. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(2),139-162. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.11.011 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.11.011

Zhou, Y., & Todman, J. (2008). Patterns of adaptation of Chinese postgraduate students in the United Kingdom. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(4), 467-486. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315308317937 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315308317937

Zhou, Y., Jindal-Snape, D., Topping, K., & Todman, J. (2008). Theoretical models of culture shock and adaptation in international students in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 33(1), 63-7. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070701794833 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070701794833

Published

2021-11-19

How to Cite

Campos, J., Pinto, L. H., & Hippler, T. (2021). The Domains of Cross-Cultural Adjustment: An Empirical Study with International Students. Journal of International Students, 12(2). https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v12i2.2512

Issue

Section

Research Articles