Central European Journal of Medicine

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 335–343 | Cite as

Stress coping and psychological adaptation in the international students

  • Laura Sapranaviciute
  • Aidas Perminas
  • Neringa Pauziene
Research Article


International students all over the world meet a lot of stressful situations due to different academic demands, cultural context, language problems and other adaptation difficulties. There is little evidence to explain what stress coping strategies are used by international students to cope with stressful situations and how they are connected to psychological adaptation. So the purpose of this study was to assess associations between psychological adaptation and stress coping strategies in international and domestic students. The study recruited 356 students: 258 host and 98 international students. Stress coping strategies were measured by Coping Orientation of Problem Experience questionnaire. Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale was used to measure depressive symptoms. Stress related health complaints were measured using a scale devised by the authors of this study. The study ascertained that in stressful situations international students used different stress coping strategies when compared to domestic students. Moreover, stress coping strategies used by international and domestic students were differently connected to health outcomes. The study pointed out that by researchers and counselors’ special attention should be given to international students.


Stress coping strategies Depressive symptoms Stress related health complaints International students 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    Poyrazli S., Arbona C., Nora A., McPherson R., Pisecco S., Relation between assertiveness, academic self-efficacy, and psychological adjustment among international graduate students. J Coll Student Dev, 2002, 43(5), 632–642Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Misra R., Castillo L.G., Academic stress among college students: comparison of American and international students. Int J Stress Manage, 2004, 11(2), 132–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Brown L., The incidence of study-related stress in international students in the initial stage of the international sojourn. J Stud Int Educ, 2008, 12(1), 5–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    Chai P.P., Religion/spirituality as a stress coping mechanism for international students, PhD thesis, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, 2009Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Berry J.W., Immigration, acculturation and adaptation. Appl Psychol Int Rev, 1997, 46, 5–68Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Lazarus R., Evolution of a Model of Stress, Appraisal and Coping, and Discrete Emotions., In: Rice V. (Eds.), Handbook of Stress, Coping and Health, SAGE Publications, London, 2000Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Sapranavičiūtė L., Perminas A., Kavaliauskaitė E., Universiteto studentu streso iveikos strategiju struktura. Tarptautinis psichologijos zurnalas: biopsichosocialinis poziuris, 2011, 8, 9–28, (in Lithuanian)Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Sapranavičiūtė L., Perminas A., Universiteto studentu streso iveikos strategiju sasajos su nusiskundimais sveikata. Visuomenes sveikata, 2011, 1(52), 98–107, (in Lithuanian)Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Sovic S., Coping with stress: the perspective of international students. ADCHE, 2008, 6(3), 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Amponsah M.O., Non UK University students stress levels and their coping strategies. Educ Res, 2010, 1(4), 88–99Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    Lee S., Bradley K.D., Relation between general self-efficacy, assertiveness, spirituality, and acculturative stress among international students. Proceedings of The Mid-Western Educational Research Association annual meeting (Columbus, OH), 2005Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    Thomson G., Rosenthal D., Russell J., Cultural stress among international students at an Australian university. Proceedings of Australian International Education Conference (Perth, Australia), 2006, 1–8Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    Wei M., Heppner P.P., Mallen M., Ku T.Y., Liao K.Y., Wu T.F., Acculturative stress, perfectionism, years in United States, and depression among Chinese international students. J Couns Psychol, 2007, 54, 385–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    Shenoy U.A., College-Stress and Symptom-expression in International Students: A comparative study, PhD thesis, Faculty of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia, 2000Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    Ward C., Bochner S., Furnham A., The psychology of culture shock. Routledge, London, 2001Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    Shuk-Nga Lau J., Acculturative stress, collective coping, and psychological well-being of Chinese international students. DAI, Section B, The Sciences and Engineering, 2007, 67(12), 7380Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    Wei M., Ku T.Y., Russel D.W., Mallinckrodt B., Liao K.Y., Moderating effects of three coping strategies and self-esteem or perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms: A minority stress model for Asian international students. J Couns Psychol, 2008, 55(4), 451–462PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    Bektas Y., Demir A., Boden R., Psychological adaptation of Turkish students at U.S. campuses. Int J Adv Counc, 2009, 31(2), 130–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Tan T.J., Winkelman C., The Contribution of Stress Level, Coping Styles and personality traits to International Students’ Academic Performance, 2007,
  20. [20]
    Carver C.S., Scheier M.F., Weintraub J.K., Assessing Coping Strategies: A Theoretically Based Approach. J Pers Soc Psychol, 1989, 56(2), 267–283PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    Zung W.W., A self-rating depression scale. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 1965, 12, 63–70PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. [22]
    Epstein R.M., Shields C.G., Franks P., Meldrum S.C., Feldman M., Kravitz R.L., Exploring and Validating Patient Concerns: Relation to Prescribing for Depression. Ann Fam Med, 2007, 5, 21–28PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. [23]
    Lovallo W.R., Stress & Health. Biological and Psychological Interactions, 2nd ed., Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, 2005Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    Dyrbye L.N., Thomas M.R., Shanafelt T.D., Systematic review of depression, anxiety, and other indicators of psychological distress among U.S. and Canadian medical students. Acad Med, 2006, 81(4), 354–373PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. [25]
    Kim J.H., Knight B.H., Longmire V.F., The Role of Familism in Stress and Coping Processes Among African American and White Dementia Caregivers: Effects on Mental and Physical Health. Health Psychol, 2007, 26(5), 564–576PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. [26]
    Sears S.F., Urizar G.G., Evans G.D., Examining a Stress — Coping Model of Burnout and Depression in Extension Agents. J Occup Health Psychol, 5(1), 56–62, 2000PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© © Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Sapranaviciute
    • 1
  • Aidas Perminas
    • 2
  • Neringa Pauziene
    • 1
  1. 1.International Relations and Study CenterLithuanian University of Health SciencesKaunasLithuania
  2. 2.Department of Theoretical PsychologyVytautas Magnus University, Faculty of Social SciencesKaunasLithuania

Personalised recommendations