Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Chattopadhyay, Sumana

Second Advisor

Kim, Young

Third Advisor

D'Urso, Scott C.

Abstract

This study examines how Chinese international students’ Facebook and WeChat usage patterns influence their process of intercultural adaptation. It shows that Facebook (the host social media) and WeChat (the ethnic social media) usage both have positive impacts on Chinese international students’ successful adaptation (especially their psychological adaptation) to the United States. This study also takes additional variables of interest: host language proficiency, ethnic identity, and the intention to stay in the United States (the host country) into consideration. Consistent with previous studies, host language proficiency has positive influences on Chinese international students’ sociocultural adaptation, and ethnic identity is a critical component for these students' psychological well-being. The results also expand previous research's findings. Besides a positive relationship with sociocultural adaptation, host language proficiency also has positive impacts on Chinese international students’ psychological well-being. Chinese international students who have higher levels of host language proficiency (English proficiency) are more psychologically adaptive to American society. Likewise, this study’s results reveal that ethnic identity not only can facilitate Chinese international students’ psychological adaptation, but it can also help these students deal with behavioral and cognitive difficulties during the process of sociocultural adaptation. Chinese international students’ age has a negative relationship with their social adaptation and has a positive relationship with their physical adaptation. Their length of residence in the United States also has a negative relationship with their physical adaptation.This study's findings could help universities and colleges facilitate international students’ successful adaptation to their new country of residence, which in turn, could enhance the possibilities of success in recruitment and retention of international students for these universities and colleges and improve the diversity of their student population.

Available for download on Friday, February 22, 2019

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