Cultural distance and distress: Understanding the international graduate student experience
Ling, Angela Siao Wen
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International students are increasingly integrated into diverse college cultural landscapes across the United States. Insofar as the cultural distance between the United States and home cultures predicts the adjustment outcomes of international students, and distress is a manifestation of negative adjustment, the present study examines five cultural dimensions proposed by Hofstede---Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism, Masculinity, and Long-term Orientation---in relation to graduate students' self-reported distress, which is measured with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale and an original Stressful Events Scale. Data was collected from American and international graduate students using a self-administered survey questionnaire. Statistical analyses indicate that cultural dimensions and distress are differentiated at all categorical levels and correlations exist between cultural dimensions and distress for sub-samples stratified by sex, academic discipline, and international student origin. Specifically, Power Distance, English fluency, and student origin are found to differentiate CES-D and Stressful Events significantly.