Academic stress of international students attending U.S. universities

Teh yuan Wan, David W Chapman, Donald A. Biggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


This study investigated factors associated with the academic stress experienced by international students (N=412) attending graduate school in the United States. The study was grounded in a cognitive framework in which academic stress is understood as the consequence of students' appraisal of the stressfulness of role demands and their perception of their ability to cope with those demands. These two appraisals, in turn, were posited to be a function of cultural distance, students' social support network, and their role competencies. Results indicated that the primary determinants of the two types of appraisals differed. While self-perceived English-language skills and, to a lesser degree, cultural distance were the predictors of primary appraisal, self-perceived English-language, academic, and problem-solving skills and social support network were the main determinants of secondary appraisal. Implications for how universities might work more effectively with international students are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-623
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 1992


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