A Social Cognitive Approach to Coping with Acculturative Stress in International Students

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The present study employed a cross-sectional design to test a model of coping with acculturative stress in an international student sample. Drawing from Lent’s (2004) social cognitive model of restorative well-being, several direct and mediated paths were hypothesized to predict (negatively) acculturative stress and (positively) life satisfaction. Behavioral acculturation and behavioral enculturation (Kim & Omizo, 2006) were also examined as predictors of coping with acculturative stress among international students. Using a self-report survey, participants’ ratings of acculturative stress, life satisfaction, social support, behavioral acculturation, behavioral enculturation, and coping self-efficacy were assessed. The results revealed that the variables of the model explained 16% of the variance in acculturative stress and 27% of the variance in life satisfaction. A final model, including the use of modification indices, provided good fit to the data. Findings also suggested that coping self-efficacy was a direct predictor of acculturative stress, and that behavioral acculturation and coping self-efficacy were direct predictors of students’ life satisfaction. Limitations, future research, and practical implications are discussed.