Chinese international students' health and well-being in UK universities

Wang, Amily (2017) Chinese international students' health and well-being in UK universities. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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The purpose of this study is to investigate the health beliefs and well-being experiences of Chinese international students in the UK. On the basis of the literature review and semi-structured in-depth interviews, the Chinese International Students’ Well-being Survey (CISWS) was designed and implemented. Three hundred and two Chinese international students from UK universities were recruited for the online questionnaire survey. Through this research design, Chinese international students were provided with the opportunity to have their voice heard concerning their health status and well-being experiences. The qualitative data from personal interviews were analysed within the framework of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The qualitative data analyses revealed that the health and well-being experience of Chinese international students studying in UK universities are related to 1) culturally specific health beliefs and well-being practice; 2) sociocultural adaptation; 3) academic stress and anxiety; 4) psychological adaptation; 5) views on social support; 6) dilemma regarding health service: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or Western Medicine (WM),and 7) health concern of female students. Chinese international students, irrespective of their gender and academic status, report facing academic stress while studying in UK universities. They employ different strategies to achieve their well-being in the UK such as dietary regulation, and drinking herbal tea and soup - practices embedded in their home culture. To resolve their perceived psychological stress, they use different types of social support. Chinese international students reported seeking social support from families, friends and university counselling services. In their spare time, they watch English TV programmes and BBC news to improve their English proficiency. The emotional support from families and friends is also used to reduce their psychological stress. Regarding quantitative data analyses, multiple regression tests and hierarchical regression, coupled with Pearson’s product moment correlation tests showed that 1) academic stress is a significant negative predictor of well-being; 2) sociocultural adaptation, psychological adaptation, social support and cultural health belief are significant positive predictors of well-being; 3) sociocultural adaptation is a significant predictor of psychological adaptation; 4) social support mediates the association between sociocultural adaptation and well-being. Furthermore, this study recommends a close examination of the role of specific cultural factors such as the union of human beings and nature (天人合一), balance of Yin vs. Yang (阴阳平衡), eating in accordance with the change of season (四季饮食), and mixture of hot and cold food (食性搭配), which may exert some influence on the health and well-being of Chinese international students during the dynamic and ongoing process of study abroad.

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Thesis (PhD)
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18 Oct 2017 10:22
Last Modified:
23 Sep 2023 00:02