Reciprocal relations between social self-efficacy and loneliness among Chinese international students

William Tsai, Kenneth T. Wang, Meifen Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Among international students in the United States, those with a Chinese cultural heritage (e.g., students from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong) now constitute the largest group, representing over a 3rd of all such students. However, relatively little is known about the psychosocial factors that may predict successful transition into the United States. As such, independent of the effects of perceived English proficiency and social isolation, the present study assessed the relations between social self-efficacy and loneliness among Chinese international students in a 3-wave cross-lagged study (i.e., timeline ranging from prearrival to their 2nd semester in the United States). Their associations with social isolation and sources of friendship (i.e., U.S. friends, Chinese friends, or international friends) were also examined. Participants were 409 Chinese international students (57% female) enrolled in universities across the United States. Findings revealed bidirectional relations between social self-efficacy and loneliness across all 3 time points. Furthermore, we found that those with higher levels of social self-efficacy had a proportionally higher number of American friends during their 1st semester in the United States. In other words, having perceived close friendships with Americans may be an important factor associated with the social adjustment of Chinese international students. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-102
Number of pages9
JournalAsian American Journal of Psychology
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Chinese
  • international students
  • loneliness
  • social self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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