Dealing with Acculturative Stress: How International Students’ Personality Traits Help?


  • Thi Kim Thu Le University of Windsor



international students, acculturative stress, personality traits


Studies on international students have gained popularity over the past decades, especially; international students’ experience on acculturative stress has been a significant research topic for researchers in different countries. However, there remains a gap in how personality traits influence the ways that international students deal with acculturative stress. This study aims to investigate acculturative stress-related experiences of five international students from five countries studying in Canada. Applying a collective case study as a qualitative research method and collecting data from semi-structured in-depth interviews, this study expects to describe levels of stress that these students encounter and explore how their personality traits shaped by social, cultural, and political contexts influence their acculturative stress levels and their ability to get over these experiences.


Download data is not yet available.


Agostinelli, A. V. (2021). Teaching International Students in Western Universities: A Literature Review. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 13(4).

Berry, J. W., Kim, U., Minde, T., & Mok, D. (1987). Comparative Studies of Acculturative Stress. Internatioanl Migration Review, 1–21.

Bertram, D. M., Poulakis, M., Elsasser, B. S., & Kumar, E. (2014). Social Support and Acculturation in Chinese International Students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 42(2), 107–124.

Bhattacharya, G. (1998). Drug use among Asian-Indian adolescents: Identifying protective/risk factors. Adolescence, 33(129), 169–184.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101.

Bryman, A., & Bell, E. (2019). Social research methods (Fifth Canadian edition). Oxford University Press.

Cao, C., & Meng, Q. (2019). Mapping the Paths from Language Proficiency to Adaptation for Chinese Students in a Non-English-Speaking Country: An Integrative Model of Mediation. Current Psychology, 38(6), 1564–1575.

Cayetano-Penman, J., Malik, G., Hampton, K., & Zhong, Y. (2021). Conceptualizing A Program Aimed at Empowering Beginning International Health Science Students for A Successful Transition to University. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 13(1), Article 1.

Collins, H., & Callaghan, D. (2022). What a Difference a Zoom Makes: Intercultural Interactions Between Host and International Students. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(2), Article 2.

Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (Fourth edition). SAGE.

Dailey-Strand, C., Collins, H., & Callaghan, D. (2021). “Those First Few Months Were Horrible”: Cross-Cultural Adaptation and the J-Curve in the International Student Experience in the U.K. and Norway. Journal of Comparative and International Higher Education, 13(4), 73–84.

Duru, E., & Poyrazli, S. (2007). Personality dimensions, psychosocial-demographic variables, and English language competency in predicting level of acculturative stress among Turkish international students. International Journal of Stress Management, 14(1), 99–110.

Erudera. (2022). Canada International Student Statistics 2022.

Falavarjani, M. F., Yeh, C. J., & Brouwers, S. A. (2020). Exploring the Effects of Acculturative Stress and Social Support on the Acculturation-Depression Relationship in Two Countries of Similar Social Status. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 21(2), 509–528.

Franco, M., Hsiao, Y.-S., Gnilka, P. B., & Ashby, J. S. (2019). Acculturative stress, social support, and career outcome expectations among international students. International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance, 19(2), 275–291.

Ge, L., & Durst, D. (2022). The Auto-ethnographic Inquiry of a Female Chinese Graduate Student in Canada: Challenging, Accepting, and Transforming. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(1), Article 1.

Hofstede, G. (1985). The Interaction Between National and Organizational Value Systems [1]. Journal of Management Studies, 22(4), 347–357.

Kim, K., Moiseichik, M., Han, J., & Stokowski, S. (2022). Exploring the Effect of Team Identification on International Students’ Adjustment to Higher Education in the United States. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(1), Article 1.

Li, C., & Li, H. (2017). Chinese Immigrant Parents’ Perspectives on Psychological Well-Being, Acculturative Stress, and Support: Implications for Multicultural Consultation. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 27(3), 245–270.

Lysgaand, S. (1955). Adjustment in a foreign society: Norwegian Fulbright grantees visiting the United States. International Social Science Bulletin, 7, 45–51.

Ma, K., Pitner, R., Sakamoto, I., & Park, H. Y. (2020). Challenges in Acculturation among International Students from Asian Collectivist Cultures. Higher Education Studies, 10(3), 34.

McIntosh, M. J., & Morse, J. M. (2015). Situating and Constructing Diversity in Semi-Structured Interviews. Global Qualitative Nursing Research, 2, 2333393615597674.

Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Mori, S. C. (2000). Addressing the Mental Health Concerns of International Students. Journal of Counseling & Development, 78(2), 137–144.

Nguyen, M., & Le, N. H. G. (2021). The influence of COVID-19 stress on psychological well-being among Vietnamese adults: The role of self-compassion and gratitude. Traumatology, 27.

Ozer, S. (2015). Predictors of international students’ psychological and sociocultural adjustment to the context of reception while studying at Aarhus University, Denmark. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 56(6), 717–725.

Pinamang, B. N., Bobie-Nimako, O., Peprah, W. K., Osei, S. A., Antwi, F. B., Nimako, N. O., & Agyenim-Boateng, E. (2021). Social Support, Psychological Adjustment, Acculturative Stress, and International Students. International Journal of Nursing, 11(1), 1–7.

Poyrazli, S., Thukral, R. K., & Duru, E. (2010). International students race-ethnicity, personality and acculturative stress. International Journal of Psychology and Counselling, 2(2), 25–32.

Ra, Y.-A. (2016). Social Support and Acculturative Stress Among Korean International Students. Journal of College Student Development, 57(7), 885–891.

Sam, D. L., & Berry, J. W. (2006). The Cambridge Handbook of Acculturation Psychology. Cambridge University Press.

Sandhu, D. S., & Asrabadi, B. R. (1994). Development of an Acculturative Stress Scale for International Students: Preliminary Findings. Psychological Reports, 75(1), 435–448.

Sullivan, C., & Kashubeck-West, S. (2015). The Interplay of International Students’ Acculturative Stress, Social Support, and Acculturation Modes. Journal of International Students, 5(1), 1–11.

Tran, M. A. Q., Le, N. H. G., & Pham, M. (2021). Self-compassion and Students’ Well-Being Among Vietnamese Students: Chain Mediation Effect of Narcissism and Anxiety. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy.

Van Oudenhoven, J. P., & Van der Zee, K. I. (2002). Predicting multicultural effectiveness of international students: The Multicultural Personality Questionnaire. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 26(6), 679–694.

Yin, R. K. (2018). Case study research and applications: Design and methods (Sixth edition). SAGE.

Zhang, J., & Sustarsic, M. (2022). Coping and adjustment during COVID-19: Experiences of Chinese international doctoral students in the United States. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(3 (Part 2)), Article 3 (Part 2).

Zhang, S., Li, C., & Unger, D. (2022). International Doctoral Students’ Sense of Belonging, Mental Toughness, and Psychological Well-Being. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(2), Article 2.




How to Cite

Le, T. K. T. (2023). Dealing with Acculturative Stress: How International Students’ Personality Traits Help?. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 14(5A), 20–24.



Emerging Scholar Summary