Acculturative stress and coping strategies among Mainland Chinese university students in Hong Kong: A qualitative inquiry.

Despite the growing population of Mainland Chinese students at the local government-funded universities in Hong Kong, little is known about their acculturation experiences and psychosocial adjustment. Drawing on an acculturation framework (Berry, 2003) and theories of coping (Folkman, 1984), resilience (Masten, 2001), and socioecological processes (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006), this article provides an in-depth account of acculturative stress and coping behaviors experienced by Mainland Chinese university students in Hong Kong. Using qualitative research methods, we conducted seven focus groups with a total of 32 Mainland Chinese students from a public university in Hong Kong over a 3-month period. Analytic strategy included identifying the unit of analysis, coding, sorting code, checking code, and creating salient themes. Findings suggested that Mainland Chinese university students faced acculturative stress stemming from “language barriers,” “prejudice and discrimination,” “cultural differences,” and “transport, food, and accommodation.” The study also found that the participants used a number of adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies in the face of acculturative stress. As an extension of this research, future studies should examine the subtle difference between a subculture (Hong Kong) and its mother culture (Mainland China) and how that affects acculturative stress. Implications of these findings are discussed at the levels of theory, policy, and practice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)