Dilemmas and Coping Strategies of Chinese International Students’ Mental Health Problems

The Parents’ Perspectives





adjustment, Chinese international students, coping strategies, depression, mental health, parents


Talking about mental health issues like depression with parents is a challenging exercise for Chinese international students (CISs) as well as their parents due to their cultural context and family hierarchical structure. This study engages with the parents of CISs to identify their dilemmas and coping strategies employed to discuss depression with their children studying in United States. Thirteen Chinese parents of CISs were recruited into in-depth interviews. A constant comparative method was employed for data analysis. The results revealed that the parents struggled with different dilemmas while talking about depression. Four coping strategies emerged: (a) communicating openly, (b) improving understanding through social media and shared experiences, (c) respecting, being sensitive, and not being judgmental, and (d) encouraging help-seeking and support-seeking. The findings provide crucial insights for mental health interventions involving parents of CISs.


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Author Biographies

Lan Jin, Purdue University, USA

LAN JIN, PhD, is an Intercultural Research Specialist in the Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR) at Purdue University. Her major research interests lie in the area of intercultural competence development, program design and evaluation, and mental health of international students.

Lalatendu Acharya, Indiana University Kokomo, USA

LALATENDU ACHARYA, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Allied Health Science at Indiana University Kokomo. Dr. Acharya’s research examines the different pathways to influence health behavior and address disparities through participatory health communication, health promotion and marketing interventions. Under this thematic area, he works on addressing health behavioral issues and disparity outcomes in the fields of mental health and environmental health, especially in adolescents, college students and vulnerable communities


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How to Cite

Jin, L., & Acharya, L. (2021). Dilemmas and Coping Strategies of Chinese International Students’ Mental Health Problems: The Parents’ Perspectives. Journal of International Students, 11(1), 216–237. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v11i1.1446



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