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As the number of Chinese international students rapidly increases in U.S. colleges, it becomes important to understand the factors that contribute to their mental health, especially during their first semester of adjustment to the new culture. This study tested the hypothesis that: family condition predicts Chinese International Students’ Sense of Coherence (SOC), the overall capacity of handling tension derived from life stressors, with adaptation performance works as a mediation during their first semester. Data collection sessions were conducted for a collage-based cohort of 43 freshman Chinese international students at the beginning and at the end of their first semester. Participants completed self-report questionnaires that included the SOC (23-term) scale, Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales (62-term) measuring parent-child relationship, and Sociocultural adaptation Scale (41-term) measuring adjustment performance. Result showed that participants with a healthy parent-child relationship reported a higher SOC than those with a weak family relationship. Those reported a better performance of adaptation to foreign environment also reported a higher SOC than others. Family relationship is a potential predictor of Chinese international students’ SOC through their first semester while the process of acculturation is predictive of their SOC and mediated the impacts of parent-child relationship on students’ SOC. This study contributes to the literature on Antonovsky’s theory of sense of coherence in Chinese international students.

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Foreign students; Chinese students; Foreign students--Mental health; Sense of coherence; Families


Higher Education | Psychology

Family Influence on Chinese International Students’ Sense of Coherence