He, Xiao (2019-08). The Influence of Coherence, Connectedness, and Gender on International Students' Coping Strategies. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • International students studying in the United States (U.S.) are at considerable risk for various psychological problems due to a substantial amount of adjustment stress. Coping strategies play an active role in maintaining and improving international students' psychological wellbeing; however, little attention has been given to psychological factors such as sense of coherence and sense of connectedness, and their influences on international students' ability to cope and adjust. The 2011 Survey of Distress, Suicidality, and Student Coping, which was conducted by the National Research Consortium of Counseling Centers, explored the relationship between international students' sense of coherence and connectedness and their association with three dimensions of coping strategies: task-oriented, emotion-oriented, and avoidance-oriented within a structural equation modeling framework. The participants were 2,592 international students (52.4% men, 47.5% women; 77.6% graduate students, 22.4% undergraduates) whose ages ranged 18-95 years (M = 26.78 years, SD = 6.06 years). Primary analyses were conducted to establish the underlying measurement model of coherence, connectedness, task-oriented, emotion-oriented, and avoidance-oriented coping strategies. The hypothesized model had acceptable fit: ?^2 (289) = 692.189, RMSEA = 0.035, CFI/TLI = 0.918/0.904, WRMR = 1.953. Gender moderated the paths between sense of coherence and emotion-oriented strategies, and sense of connectedness and emotion-oriented strategies. Among female international students, sense of coherence was positively related with usage of emotion-oriented strategies. Sense of coherence and sense of connectedness were both negatively related with usage of avoidance-oriented strategies for both genders. The results have implications for future research, higher education, and mental health prevention and intervention.

publication date

  • August 2019