Most college students feel stressed
when leaving home for college, but a research study conducted by IUP Clinical
Psychology graduate student Chiaothong Yong indicates that international
students may be feeling increased pressures. Yong’s research was presented last
year at the IUP Graduate Scholars Forum, and she is continuing her research
Yong’s research pointed out that
international students have the increased pressures of culture shock, language
barriers, insomnia, adapting to new food and housing, and financial issues. As a
result, she explained, international students are at a higher risk of facing
psychological issues than domestic students.
The small sample group was given two tests,
one in English and one in their native language. The questionnaire asked
students about their feelings of depression, thoughts of suicide, substance
abuse, and feelings of anxiety.
Yong’s hypothesis was that
international students (primarily Chinese-speaking students) would be more
forthcoming about their stress when given a questionnaire in Chinese since they
would be more at ease with their native language. Interestingly, though, she
discovered Chinese students were more likely to reveal their psychological
issues in the English questionnaire.
Yong speculated that due to the
Chinese culture of preserving dignity, often referred to as saving face,
students may have felt safer to reveal their problems in the English screening.
“In traditional Chinese culture, it’s important that you don’t show your
weaknesses to others,” she said.
However, Yong said due to the small
sample group, the screenings may not have presented completely accurate
results. She said there is also the possibility that students were over-reporting their issues and stresses.
Yong is continuing her research this year by replicating
the tests at various universities outside IUP, broadening the amount of
students tested, and expanding the number of ethnic groups tested.
(Story compiled and written by Beth Koop, media