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The relationship between acculturative stress, depression, anxiety and religious coping among international students in China

Author: 
Haider Muhammad Imran, Jintong Liu,Yang Wang, Abdul Sattar Ghaffari, Hafiz Muhammad Shoaib and Saeed Javed
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: During past two decades, China has modernized its education system and became a hub for international students. However, studying abroad comes with various challenges. Objectives: In this study, we have focused on mental health of international students in response of acculturation, and investigated the relationship of religious coping with stress, depression and anxiety. Methods: We have analyzed data of 397 international students attending three different universities in Jinan, China. Acculturative Stress Scale for International Students was used to determine the level of stress. Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) and Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SDS) were used to assess level of depression and anxiety respectively. Religious coping activity was recorded by Brief RCOPE. Data was analyzed by using SPSS Version 21.Descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlation, regression analysis, t-tests and ANOVA were conducted. Results: Our results indicated that Acculturative stress was positively associated to depression, anxiety and negative religious coping, whereas negatively correlated to positive religious coping. Furthermore, it is concluded that positive religious coping has negative impact on acculturative stress, depression and anxiety. We have also found that males students are more depressed than female students, whereas anxiety level is significantly high among female students which might be the outcome of acculturation. Analysis of variance between different religious groups of our participants indicates that level of acculturative stress, depression, anxiety and religious coping is different among different religions. Conclusion: Our study suggests that acculturative stress is one of main predictor of depression and anxiety among international students, and these psychological conditions can be influenced by religion. Religious commitment and activities should be taken into consideration while psychological assessment of foreigners living in China.

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