Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Degree Name

Anthropology (BA, BS)



First Advisor

J. Koji Lum, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Katherine Wander, Ph.D


Social Sciences

Subject Heading(s)

Chinese students -- New York (State) -- Binghamton -- Psychology; Acculturation -- New York (State) -- Binghamton; Stress (Psychology); Well-being -- Psychological aspects


Chinese international students have been the largest demographic of international students in the U.S. for the past decade. In our increasingly globalized world, it is inevitable that more international students will immigrate to the U.S. for educational opportunities, among many others, and it is important to consider the challenges that these students may face, to ease their cultural transition. Already we have seen our world changed by the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is inevitable that this will shape the experiences of all students, let alone international students, in the near future, and possibly the foreseeable future. While the effects of this disease are ever evolving, it is certain that they will influence the structure of higher education and contribute to the stressors of being an international student. Studies have shown that the stress from crosscultural transitions, acculturative stress, is influenced by academic and social stressors that students face when adjusting to life in their host culture. Additionally, higher levels of acculturative stress have been related to adverse effects on students’ health, including diet and substance use. This study looks to assess the relationship of acculturative stress among Chinese international students at a public university in New York with aspects of well-being, while also evaluating health-related campus resources and perceptions of University support of student well-being. This study found results consistent with the literature regarding the relationship between acculturative stress and academic (r² = 0.635, p < 0.01) and social well-being (r² = 0.465, p < 0.01), as well as life satisfaction (r² v = -0.458, p < 0.05) and happiness (r² = -0.639, p < 0.01). Additionally, this research concluded that acculturative stress and length of enrollment have a moderating effect on students' use of drugs/alcohol as a coping mechanism and their self-reported substance use since immigrating to the U.S. (r² = 0.425, p = 0.001; and r² = 0.456, p < 0.001, respectively). No significant relationship was found between acculturative stress and aspects of diet, physical health, and sleep quality, however, analysis of these factors and other survey items revealed non-anticipated correlations. Such findings suggest the interconnectedness of survey items and support the notion that aspects of well-being influence each other, calling for greater importance on promoting well-being among students. Colleges and universities in the U.S. are fortunate to have many resources that look to support student well-being, and all students should have equal opportunity in accessing these resources and benefiting from their services. Cultural differences may hinder individual accessibility to resources or may implicate other adverse health effects that the host culture is unaware of. This study discusses limitations in research and also outlines considerations for future research.