First Advisor

William Greenfield

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education


Educational Leadership and Policy




Chinese students -- United States, Friendship, Student adjustment



Physical Description

3, vii, 176 leaves 28 cm.


International students who experience difficulties in a new culture are often considered to have suffered a breakdown in their normal healthy psychological functioning, and therefore need therapy and counselling (Pedersen et al, 1976). This study views failure and problems experienced by the sojourner as a result of lack of the necessary new social skills and knowledge. Social networks, particularly friendships, are thus extremely important in that such networks are not only source of social support, but also major channels through which such skills and knowledge are acquired.

  1. Guided by social support theories and social skills theories, this study examines the following research questions through the survey and the interview with a sample of Chinese students at Northwest University I and five other universities across the United States. How is adjustment of Chinese students related to their friendship patterns?
  2. What are the friendship patterns of Chinese students?
  3. What are the primary functions of the friendship patterns of Chinese students?
  4. How is the degree of difficulty felt by Chinese students in different social situations related to their friendship patterns?
  5. How is social adjustment related to the degree of difficulty felt by Chinese students in different social situations?

Some additional questions related to the five research questions were also addressed in this study.

The study showed there were different functions for different friendship patterns among Chinese students. Despite different functions, friendships are very important for Chinese in their adjustment to the United States. However, students belonging to the bi-cultural friendship pattern were more satisfied with social as well as academic aspects of their life in this country than those who belong to the mono-cultural friendship pattern. Among different factors contributing to social adjustment, social skills account most for the variance of social adjustment among Chinese students.

This study concluded with suggestions for forming institutional policies toward international students in American higher education, training of international students both at the home country and the host country, and advice to prospective international students, particularly Chinese students.


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