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dc.contributor.advisorBreiger, Ronald
dc.contributor.authorZeng, Liwen
dc.creatorZeng, Liwen
dc.date.accessioned2022-07-15T19:02:51Z
dc.date.available2022-07-15T19:02:51Z
dc.date.issued2022
dc.identifier.citationZeng, Liwen. (2022). Sojourning Mentality, Acculturative Stress, and Mental Health among Chinese International Students and Visiting Scholars in the United States (Doctoral dissertation, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA).
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10150/665411
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation bridges the literatures on race, migration, and health to highlight the acculturation experiences and related health implications among Chinese immigrants, particularly sojourning Chinese international students in the US. Due to their temporary stay in the recipient society, Chinese students usually demonstrate a sojourning mentality that is characterized by a strong attachment to their home country and a keen desire to return home after fulfilling their migration goals. This mentality appeared more intense during the COVID-19 pandemic when the migration environment (particularly the anti-Chinese racism) featured a heightened level of hostility to sojourning Chinese immigrants in the US. Therefore, this dissertation utilizes data from multiple sources to investigate how sojourning mentality (and possible changes during the pandemic) interplayed with Chinese students’ experiences of acculturation and acculturative stress, and their mental health status. For the first study that comprises my dissertation, I have utilized the nationally representative survey data from the 2002-2003 National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) to investigate the link between acculturation and mental health among Chinese immigrants in the US. Specifically, I have employed weighted OLS regression and binary logistic regression analyses to examine the relationship between acculturative stress and psychological distress among foreign-born Chinese immigrants, and whether such an association persists and varies on the basis of respondents’ levels of ethnic identification (the best proxy measure available for sojourning mentality in the NLAAS). My findings indicate that higher levels of ethnic identification are associated with respondents’ lower levels of psychological distress. However, for respondents who have stayed in the US for over 20 years, higher levels of ethnic identification are associated with greater vulnerability to psychological distress when they encounter acculturative stress simultaneously. For the second study of my dissertation, I designed and conducted a cross-sectional online survey among Chinese international students and visiting scholars currently studying in the US. The goal was to establish and validate a psychometric scale of sojourning mentality. Using convenience and network sampling, I managed to recruit 698 participants, with 643 qualified responses and a completion rate of 80.7%. Using multiple rounds of exploratory factor analyses (EFA) on a convenience sample of 545 adult Chinese international students and visiting scholars studying in the US, I constructed a 24-item measurement scale of sojourning mentality that is composed of 4 factors, including Attachment to Chinese Identity, Motivations to Stay in the Host Society, Preparedness to Return to China, and Motivations to Leave the Host Society. I further assessed the construct validity of this measurement scale by examining its association with three theoretically related concepts, including acculturative strategy, acculturative stress, and depression. This 4-factor solution accounts for over 60% of the total variance and exhibits satisfactory internal reliability and construct validity. This study is original and unprecedented, as it has established and validated the very first psychometric scale of sojourning mentality. Future research is strongly encouraged to apply this scale to other sojourning population(s), using probabilistic sampling. For the concluding study of my dissertation, I employed qualitative data from 59 in-depth interviews with Chinese international students recruited from my online survey in stage 2, in order to investigate their decision about whether to return to China, and to examine how such a decision (and resultant sojourning mentality) can influence and interact with their acculturation in the US during the COVID pandemic. Overall, I find that this population of foreign students demonstrates diverse levels of orientation toward returning to China, including immediate return (“yes, immediately.”), postponed return (“yes, in a few years.”), undecided return (“It depends.”), and refusal to return (“No, I will stay here.”). Except for Chinese visiting scholars who were determined sojourners, a majority of the students constantly develop, negotiate, and readjust their decisions about whether to return, and they do so throughout their entire stay in the US. By further exploring the post-migration experiences of the 55 interviewees who expressed at least some degree of intention to sojourn, I identify consistently and persistently four types or levels of sojourning mentality, including exploratory, pragmatic, disillusioned, and detached sojourning. I find that each mode of sojourning mentality can lead to distinctive acculturation attitudes and acculturative stressors that these students mostly embrace and encounter. These findings, therefore, provide supportive evidence for the call for a measurement scale of sojourning mentality.
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
dc.rights.urihttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
dc.subjectAcculturation
dc.subjectAcculturative stress
dc.subjectChinese international Students
dc.subjectMental health
dc.subjectSojourner
dc.subjectSojourning mentality
dc.titleSojourning Mentality, Acculturative Stress, and Mental Health among Chinese International Students and Visiting Scholars in the United States
dc.typetext
dc.typeElectronic Dissertation
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizona
thesis.degree.leveldoctoral
dc.contributor.committeememberMartínez, Daniel
dc.contributor.committeememberMenchik, Daniel
dc.contributor.committeememberDiaz, Christina
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate College
thesis.degree.disciplineSociology
thesis.degree.namePh.D.
refterms.dateFOA2022-07-15T19:02:51Z


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