Chinese International Students’ Coping Strategies in the United States

Coping Strategies

This chapter mainly examines how Chinese students manage their stress; what the coping strategies they use to deal with their stressors are; how they perceive coping, help-seeking, and counseling concepts and services; and what their expectations and suggestions on the counseling are. Results found that Chinese students engage in a wide range of coping strategies to alleviate their stress. When seeking help from others, they primarily turn to their family or other Chinese students. Most of them do not know how the counseling services work or have a hard time telling counselors about their personal problems. Students identify a lack of common language and understanding of mental health concepts, as well as fear of stigmatization, as limiting their expression of psychological needs and stress.

Students’ coping strategies are reported and summarized in this chapter based upon Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) two broad coping strategies (problem-focused and emotion-focused). Problem-focused coping generally consists of strategies for altering or managing the sources of the problem itself. Emotion-focused coping denotes behaviors designed to directly eliminate or contain dysphonic emotions elicited by a stressor. Within these two dimensions, categories have been selected which fit the coping strategies disclosed by the students in this study. The complete model used to analyze the data is illustrated in Fig. 7.1.

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