Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


University of Northern Iowa -- Students; University of Northern Iowa; Students, Foreign -- Iowa -- Cedar Falls; Student adjustment; Counseling in higher education; Iowa;


The primary purpose of this study was to examine the acculturative stressors of international students at the University of Northern Iowa and determine what services or programs they access or use as their coping options. Also included in the study was a description of differences in the extracted factors of acculturative stress by gender, age, marital status, residence type, place of origin, length of study at UN[, length of stay in the US, and number of working hours per week. A random sample of 98 international students (45% female, and 54% male) responded to a 50-item acculturative stress and coping options survey in the Fall semester of 2000. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to analyze the data collected. To examine the extent of the acculturative stress among international students at UNI, t-test, One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and chi-square test were used in dctem1ining the differences that existed between the extracted principal factors of acculturative stress they experienced according to the demographic factors. Frequencies statistic was also conducted to examine the degree to which international students at UNI use the services and programs available on campus to address their acculturative stress. The findings of the study show that international students at UNI experience all the extracted principal factors of acculturative stress (perceived discrimination, homesickness, perceived hate/rejection, fear, guilt, culture shock and none specific stress). However an examination of the relationships that existed between each demographic variable and the extracted principal factors of stress showed significant differences only in perceived discrimination by origin and current residence; homesickness by marital status and current residence; perceived hate/rejection by current residence and region of origin; and finally by none specific stress and current residence. The results in coping options show that most international students at UNI develop friendships with host nationals to overcome their acculturative stress. Most of them also indicated a higher frequency in their use of the Wellness Recreation Center to overcome acculturative stress. There was quite a minimal indication of the usage of the international services office and the counseling center. Smoking, drinking alcohol and the usage of drugs were the least frequently used options by international students to avert their acculturative stress. It was concluded that international students at UNI extensively experience acculturative stress. The need for providing culturally diverse orientation services and outreach programs was recommended.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Barry J. Wilson


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