Document Type



The purpose of this study was to investigate the sources of stress, its impact on health behaviors and academic performance of 220 international students studying at a comprehensive Midwestern university, and coping strategies used by international students to manage stress. The study was a cross-sectional descriptive design, using a quantitative method. Two hundred twenty international students enrolled at the university during the summer and fall of 2003 participated in this study. Data were collected using "Sources of Stress, Health Behaviors and Academic Performance Scale for international students. Statistical procedure for data analysis included t-test, ANOVA, chi-square and bivariate correlation. Results indicated that stress experienced by international students emanated from alienation/discrimination, communication/language difficulties, homesickness/ loneliness, financial hardships and academic pressure. Forming friendships, dating U.S. students and religion practicing were most commonly reported as the best stress coping strategies. Significant gender differences existed regarding the level of stress experience, where male students reported less stress than female students overall. Academically, overall international students performed well with a mean GPA of 3.4 and the overall health behavior was good among international students. Stress was reported by international students as playing a motivational role in regard to academic performance and health behaviors. It was recommended that thorough orientation programs and cultural competency training for faculty, staff and students would help increase interaction and understanding among the university community hence smoothening the acculturation process for international students.

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Journal of Global Health and Health Disparities





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©2007 International Journal of Global Health and Health Disparities



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Public Health Commons



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