PREDICTORS OF ACCULTURATIVE STRESS AMONG INTERNATIONAL POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS IN MALAYSIA PUBLIC UNIVERSITY
Background: Acculturative stress are contributed by acculturative stressors and related to the aptitude of the individual whether he has enough coping capacity to overcome the situation or not. International students would be more likely to encounter higher stress upon arrival to foreign country as compared to host groups of students, as they have to adjust to new social, cultural and academic environment, and uncertain surrounding. The aim of this study is to determine the predictors of acculturative stressors among international postgraduate students studying in a Malaysia public university.
Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among 404 international postgraduate students in a public university in Malaysia. Acculturative stressors were assessed by a self-administered questionnaire with six main subsection, including homesickness, perceived discrimination, living condition, academic pressure, financial concern and social support. It consists of 38 items in likert-5 point response format. Data was analysed using IBM SPSS. Independent t-test and one-way ANOVA were used to determine the association between acculturative stressors and demographic factors, and predictors were explored using hierarchical regressions analysis.
Result: The response rate for the study was 82.1%. The mean age of the respondents was 32 years, whereas the majority of respondents (75.7%) were male students. Respondents were mainly from Middle East (42.3%) and Africa (37.1%). Hierarchical regression analysis found that the gender (p<0.05), religion (p<0.05), continent of origin (p<0.05), duration of stay (p<0.001), academic pressure (p<0.001), financial concern (p<0.001), and social support (p<0.05) were significant predictors. Academic pressure had a significant moderate positive relationship (r=0.433, p<0.001) with acculturative stress.
Conclusion: Three significant predictors of acculturative stress among international postgraduate students were academic pressure, financial concern and social support. In addition, female, being Christian, and those who came from Middle East experienced more stressors.Keywords: Acculturative stress, predictors, postgraduate, international students.