Help Seeking Behaviors of International Students: Stigma, Acculturation, and Attitudes towards Counseling

Help Seeking Behaviors of International Students: Stigma, Acculturation, and Attitudes towards Counseling

Susan Boafo-Arthur (University of Scranton, USA) and Ama Boafo-Arthur (University of Ghana, Ghana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0159-6.ch059
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International students' pursuit of education in the United States (US) is mutually beneficial to both international students and the economy of the United States. Students often experience culture shock or transitional stress upon arrival. Despite these challenges, research indicates that international students are not likely to seek professional counseling to manage or resolve their issues. In the event that they seek help they are known to prefer medical instead of psychological help. Authors in this chapter review the influence of stigma and acculturational variables on help seeking behaviors of international students. The authors also discuss implications for international students and institutions of higher education, and conclude with recommendations that may be beneficial to international students, student counseling services, and institutions of higher education in the United States.
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Apart from contributing immense amounts of revenue to institutions of higher education, international students are a wealth of multicultural information regarding their particular cultures and beliefs at their various institutions (Arthur, 2004). International students are however individuals whose lives, belief, lifestyle, and communication styles may be different from students at their host institution. Many international students go through various adjustment experiences that might prove problematic to them upon arrival in the United States (US). Transitioning to life on a university campus may be challenging for some and there is well-documented evidence (Constantine, Anderson, Berkel, Caldwell, & Utsey, 2005; Hays & Lin, 1994; Hyun, Quinn, Madon, & Lustig, 2007; Mori, 2000; Wilton & Constantine, 2003) that cultural differences make it more difficult for international students to adjust as compared to domestic students. There is also the likelihood that international students may not initiate, or persist in help-seeking efforts if counselors are not equipped to deal with the myriad of issues that international students present (Pedersen, 1997).

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