An Examination of Ethnic Identity, Self-Compassion, and Acculturative Stress in Asian International Students

  • Lu Tian University of Northern Colorado
  • Shannon McClain University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Marisa M Moore Marist College
  • Howard Lloyd Department of Veterans Affairs
Keywords: acculturative stress, Asian students, ethnic identity, international students, self-compassion


There is a dearth of research examining psychosocial factors that contribute to Asian international students’ acculturative stress. This study examines: (a) whether ethnic identity associates with acculturative stress, (b) whether other-group orientation mediates the relation between ethnic identity and acculturative stress, and (c) whether self-compassion moderates the relation between ethnic identity and acculturative stress. Results indicated that a stronger ethnic identity was associated with heightened acculturative stress. Self-compassion was significantly negatively associated with acculturative stress. Asian international students who strongly affiliated with their own ethnic group reported an increased openness to other ethnic groups and, in turn, reported reduced acculturative stress. Additional studies should examine other mediators that may explain the positive correlation between ethnic identity and acculturative stress.


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Author Biographies

Lu Tian, University of Northern Colorado

LU TIAN, PhD, is an assistant professor in applied psychology and counselor education at University of Northern Colorado. Her major research interests lie in the area of proactive coping in the face of unforeseeable future and cross-cultural coping among international students and immigrants.

Shannon McClain, University of Missouri-Columbia

SHANNON MCCLAIN, PhD, is an assistant professor of counseling psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her research examines psychological and environmental factors impacting the educational experiences, academic achievement, and mental health of racial-ethnic minority students.

Marisa M Moore, Marist College

MARISA M. MOORE, PhD, is an intersectional feminist Counseling Psychologist serving as Assistant Director of Marist College Counseling Services, co-chair of Marist’s LGBTQ+ Subcommittee to the Diversity Council, and adjunct faculty for Marist’s Mental Health Counseling graduate program. Her clinical and research interests focus on self-compassion and self-care, women graduate students and early career psychologists' experience with microaggressions, and mentorship

Howard Lloyd, Department of Veterans Affairs

HOWARD LLOYD, PhD, is a clinical psychologist currently working with the Department of Veterans Affairs and consulting for the Lorio Psych Group based in Atlanta, GA. His clinical work and research interests center around the identity factors that impact the achievement and well being of individuals part of marginalized groups.


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How to Cite
Tian, L., McClain, S., Moore, M., & Lloyd, H. (2019). An Examination of Ethnic Identity, Self-Compassion, and Acculturative Stress in Asian International Students. Journal of International Students, 9(2), 635-660.
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