This study explored the relations among self-construal, coping, social support, acculturation, stress, and academic satisfaction, and tested the “culture fit” hypothesis using three groups of university students from two different cultures—Caucasians in America, Chinese Americans, and Chinese in Taiwan. Reflecting their ethnic origin, Chinese students in the U.S. closely resembled Taiwanese in values of individualism, esteem for group, and relational interdependence. However, they reported higher levels of stress and lower levels of satisfaction. No correlations were found between acculturation and other variables for Chinese Americans. Path analyses revealed identical pathways for the two groups of students in the U.S., with social support fully mediating the relation between independent self-construal and perceived stress; interdependent self-construal, social support and stress predicting satisfaction; and culture fit contributing independently to stress. For Taiwanese students, social support played an even more central role in predicting satisfaction. The stress expressed by Chinese American students can thus be partially explained by a combination of being Chinese in America and feeling a lack of social support. Results provide limited support for the culture fit hypothesis, but suggest a need for further exploration of unique sources of stress for Asian Americans.
|Keywords:||Chinese Americans, Self-construal, Culture Fit, Stress, Acculturation|
Psychologist, Allina Medical Clinic, Shakopee, Minnesota, USA
Visiting Scholar, Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada