Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Pössel, Patrick

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Leach, Mark

Committee Member

Leach, Mark

Committee Member

Woo, Hongryun

Committee Member

Shuck, Brad

Author's Keywords

international students; self-construals; personality styles; depressive symptoms


The literature suggested that personality styles (i.e., sociotropy and autonomy; Beck, 1983) are vulnerability factors that could – in interaction with stress - trigger mental health concerns. Culturally influenced self-construals (Kashima, Yamaguchi, Kim, Choi, Gelfand, & Yuki, 1995; Markus & Kitayama, 1991) also detect how individuals function in a sociocultural context. While the number of international students in the U.S. increased over the past decades, their reported mental health concerns warrant more attention. This study explored relationships among self-construals, personality styles, domain-specific stressful life events, and depressive symptoms among international students in the U.S. Participants were 579 international students (identified as holding F-1/J-1 visas) recruited from universities across the U.S. Participants completed an online survey consisting of items that assess personality styles, self-construals, social anxiety, stressful life events, and depressive symptoms. Results of path analyses, controlling for social anxiety, confirmed the associations between personality styles and self-construals, and further yielded significant associations with depressive symptoms. No significant relationship was found between a tripartite model of self-construal and the interactions of personality styles and domain-specific stressful life events. However, the interaction of negative achievement life events and autonomy was found to be significantly related to depressive symptoms. Mediation analyses showed that sociotropy mediated the relationship between collective self-construal and depressive symptoms. Implications in regard to working with international students were discussed in light of these findings.