Prevalence and Correlates of Depressive Symptoms Among International Students: Implications for University Support Offices


  • Noel L Shadowen University of Delaware
  • Ariel A Williamson Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Nancy G Guerra University of California, Irvine
  • Ravichandran Ammigan University of Delaware
  • Matthew L Drexler University of Delaware



international students, English proficiency, multilingualism, academic performance


International students often experience significant challenges and difficulties adjusting to their new campus and university environment abroad. As a result, understanding the unique needs of these students has become an important priority for many university administrators and mental health professionals amid growing health concerns faced by members of this community. This study examines the prevalence and correlates of depressive symptoms in a sample of international students enrolled in a mid-size U.S. university. A hierarchical multiple regression model revealed that poor English fluency, increased acculturative stress, and perceived discrimination were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, whereas increased social support was associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms. Implications for university administration and support services are discussed.

Author Biographies

Noel L Shadowen, University of Delaware

NOEL L. SHADOWEN, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Training, Evaluation, & Community Collaboration at the University of Delaware, USA.

Ariel A Williamson, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

ARIEL A. WILLIAMSON, Ph.D., is a Behavioral Sleep Medicine Fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA.

Nancy G Guerra, University of California, Irvine

NANCY G. GUERRA, Ed.D., is Dean, School of Social Ecology and Professor, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine, USA.

Ravichandran Ammigan, University of Delaware

RAVICHANDRAN AMMIGAN, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Office for International Students and Scholars at the University of Delaware, USA.

Matthew L Drexler, University of Delaware

MATTHEW L. DREXLER is Assistant Director for Student Engagement at the Office for International Students and Scholars, University of Delaware, USA.


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How to Cite

Shadowen, N. L., Williamson, A. A., Guerra, N. G., Ammigan, R., & Drexler, M. L. (2019). Prevalence and Correlates of Depressive Symptoms Among International Students: Implications for University Support Offices. Journal of International Students, 9(1), 129–149.



Research Articles (English)