scholarly journals Developing Tailored Messages to Improve Mental Health and Adjustment of Asian International Students

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 (4) ◽  
Lan Jin ◽  
Lalatendu Acharya

The purpose of the study was to develop tailored messages improving mental health and adjustment of Asian international students (AIS) in the US. The PEN-3 cultural model was used to contextualize the role of culture in mental health needs of AIS. Messages were developed through a multi-step participatory process with consisting of three focus groups (n=15), thirteen individual interviews, one expert consultation, and finally an online survey (n=85). The study led to the development of seven broad themes with seven tailored messages under each theme (total 49). Seven broad themes were: increasing the awareness of mental health and reducing stigma; motivational quotes; available and accessible resources for AIS to improve mental health; seeking help from social network and developing interpersonal skills; adjusting to American culture and college life; coping strategies to reduce stress and improve mental health and adjustment; and safety issues. The implications for culturally responsive programs are discussed.

2013 ◽  
Vol 42 (2) ◽  
pp. 278-305 ◽  
Y. Joel Wong ◽  
Kenneth T. Wang ◽  
Cara S. Maffini

2019 ◽  
Vol 36 (1) ◽  
pp. 29-40
Mairwen K. Jones ◽  
Lynne M. Harris ◽  
Rajezi Sepideh Esfahani

AbstractThe experience of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms that have a religious theme is common. Recent research has found that religious participants with religious OCD symptoms frequently turn to religious advisors, such as imams or clergy, for help to understand and alleviate their symptoms. As such, the advice provided by imams or clergy may have an important impact on the response of the person seeking help. This study examined the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of 64 Muslim imams with mosque-goers who had religious OCD symptoms, particularly scrupulosity. This study also examined imams’ familiarity with first-line psychological treatments for OCD such as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Sunni imams from Australia and Shia imams from Iran completed an online survey based on the research of Deacon, Vincent, and Zhang (2012), which was conducted with Christian clergy in the United States. Results showed that the majority of imams were unfamiliar with scrupulosity as a possible symptom of a mental health problem, such as OCD, and with ERP as a recognised treatment for OCD. While 37% of participants reported having been approached by mosque-goers for help with scrupulosity, only 9% referred mosque-goers to mental health professionals, and only one imam reported having referred a mosque-goer for ERP. Sunni imams located in Australia were more likely to provide advice inconsistent with the ERP approach and were also significantly less likely than Shia imams located in Iran to recommend referral to a mental health professional who was not affiliated with their own religious denomination. Finally, Sunni imams had significantly higher scores than Shia imams on Thought Action Fusion (TAF) subscales. Results of multiple regression analysis revealed that TAF explained a considerable amount of the variance related to ERP-inconsistent advice. Research implications and limitations are discussed.

2019 ◽  
Vol 11 (2) ◽  
pp. 224-234 ◽  
Catrin Pedder Jones ◽  
Annemarie Lodder ◽  
Chris Papadopoulos

Purpose Previous research has found that international students can experience poor mental health, low levels of life satisfaction, self-esteem and high levels of loneliness when studying in a foreign country. No study has directly compared these between international and home students studying in the UK. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach A total of 247 students completed an online survey at the University of Bedfordshire. Findings The hypothesis that international students experience higher loneliness, lower self-esteem, lower life satisfaction and poorer general mental health than home students was rejected. Home students had significantly lower self-esteem, life satisfaction and general mental health scores. Black ethnicity and home student status significantly predicted general mental health and self-esteem in regression analyses. The predictive utility of home student status was maintained when other variables were controlled for in regression models. Originality/value This research suggests that the UK universities should ensure that both home and international students are adequately supported for their mental health.

2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (4) ◽  
pp. 995-1002
Kyunghee Ma

This article describes stress that many Asian international students experience during their adjustment to U.S. universities. Reflecting on personal experiences that contributed to deeper self-understanding, I explain cultural incompatibilities that cause this stress, the negative impact that the stress has on mental health, and the lack of support systems that exacerbate mental health complications. In highlighting the prioritization of the mental health in Asian international students and initiating community outreach programs, I demonstrate that when Asian international students participate in creating an interconnected community, they have the potential to thrive despite the stressful adjustment period.

2021 ◽  
Nicola Cogan ◽  
Yvonne Chin-Van Chau ◽  
Xi Liu ◽  
Steve Kelly ◽  
Tony Anderson ◽  

International students often face psychosocial, academic, financial and adaptation challenges within the Higher Education (HE) environment that may impact on their mental health. The current study explored the understandings and experiences of Asian international students (AISs) in terms of mental health, disclosure, help-seeking and adaptation specific to cultural relocation within Scotland. A sequential multi-method approach was adopted consisting of two studies: (1) a qualitative study using individual semi-structured interviews with AISs (n=10) (Study 1) and (2) a cross-section survey comparing AISs and non-AISs (n=172) in terms of mental health literacy and psychological adaptation within the Scottish context (Study 2). Qualitative data were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using a thematic approach. Quantitative data were analysed using regression and mediation analysis. Study 1 revealed three themes: (1) Negative beliefs, stigma and fear of judgment impacting on understandings and disclosure of mental health issues, (2) Adaptation and acculturation difficulties (lack of sense of belonging), and (3) Barriers in communication and social disconnection. Study 2 showed that AISs reported lower levels of mental health literacy, which in turn resulted in poorer psychological adaption compared to non-AISs. Supporting AISs in HE institutions involves challenging negative judgements surrounding mental health, increasing mental health literacy and addressing barriers in overcoming adaptation, acculturation and communication difficulties that may inhibit disclosure and help-seeking behaviour. The importance of mental health policies, supports and services in embracing culturally diverse understandings of mental health, challenging stigma and having culturally competent staff supporting student mental health within a multicultural learning environment is emphasised.

Thamrin ◽  
Pisaniello ◽  
Guerin ◽  

International students represent an increasingly large segment of the Australian workforce. Most international students are working while studying, but there is a scarcity of quantitative data regarding potential work-study conflicts. Data from an online survey were analyzed with multivariate statistical methods to clarify the risk factors associated with perceived work–study conflicts in an Australian university. More than 66% of students felt that working demands interfered with their study. Negative impacts included tiredness and timetable clashes. Statistically significant correlates of work–study conflict were a perception of unfair wages and a lack of confidence in discussing occupational health and safety issues with employers. Underpayment may signify other vulnerabilities, such as unsafe working conditions. As many universities seek to increase their international student enrolments, these are important factors to consider for student retention. To mitigate this potential negative influence on study, universities should provide education and training related to international students’ rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

Lanxi Huang ◽  
Margaret L. Kern ◽  
Lindsay G. Oades

Students at the tertiary education level in Australia are at increased risk of experiencing high levels of psychological distress, with international students at particularly high risk for poor adjustment. As mental health and wellbeing strongly correlate with students’ academic performance and general overseas experience, a growing number of studies focus on what universities can do to effectively support students’ wellbeing. However, assumptions are made about what wellbeing is, strategies primarily focus on treating mental ill-health, and treatment approaches fail to account for cultural differences. This study aimed to explore how Chinese international students understand wellbeing, the language used about and for wellbeing, and activities that students believe strengthen their own and others’ wellbeing. Eighty-four Chinese international students completed the online survey, and a subset of 30 students participated in semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using thematic, phenomenographic, and language analyses. Physical health and mental health appeared as the key components that participants believed defined wellbeing, and intrapersonal activities were perceived as the primary approach used to strengthen wellbeing. Findings help broaden the understanding of wellbeing concept from the population of tertiary students, identify students’ perspectives of activities that strengthen their wellbeing, offer a snapshot of the language used by Chinese students around wellbeing, and provide new data of population health through a wellbeing lens.

2020 ◽  
Vol 10 (3) ◽  
pp. 34
Kyunghee Ma ◽  
Ronald Pitner ◽  
Izumi Sakamoto ◽  
Hyun Young Park

Many international students coming to a U.S. university, especially those coming from a collectivist culture such as Asia, experience acculturation stress due to encountering different cultural norms and values. Lack of available resources may limit their coping ability, and prolonged exposure to acculturation stress may result in a decline in mental health. Asian international students may be at greater risk of developing mental health complications due to additional stressors derived from their cultures such as family recognition through success, emphasis on emotional self-control, and stigma toward mental illness. In this context, accumulated and unresolved acculturation stress may increase psychological vulnerabilities. Despite its relevance, there is no conceptual framework examining acculturation experiences of this student population. This article aims to present a conceptual framework of the acculturation process of Asian international students. Such a framework is important because it not only provides a holistic understanding of the acculturation process for Asian international students, but also provides an avenue for a comprehensive empirical inquiry. Furthermore, research-based evidence will help inform a more effective and inclusive university policy addressing the various needs of international students in order to provide intervention when necessary.

2021 ◽  
Vol 21 (2) ◽  
pp. 117-126
Won-Tack Lim

"As globalization advances, the world's international student population has continuously risen. Among this enlarged population, numerous students face adjustment problems after realizing unfamiliarity with the host culture at certain points in their sojourns, which often trigger severe psychological distress. Previous studies conducted in the U.S. university settings have pointed to the underutilization of mental health resources by international students as one of the primary risk factors for the betterment of psychological health. Up to the present, however, there is very limited research carried out in places other than leading countries of North America and the British Commonwealth on the topics of international students’ mental health. Different from the predominant research settings of existing research, this article attempts to clarify the distinction in professional help-seeking willingness between Japanese domestic students and international students from other Asian regions who were enrolled in a Japanese university, performing an independent Two-sample Z-test analysis. The result of the findings showed that both Japanese domestic students and Asian international students scored below average in willingness to seek professional help from mental health providers. It also demonstrated that the degrees of local students’ help-seeking willingness did not significantly differ from those of international students. Implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research are also discussed."

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