Acculturation and Health Behaviors Among International Students: A Qualitative Approach

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Nursing & Health Sciences

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

The process of acculturation often results in changes in the health behavior of international students. This study employed an open-ended, qualitative approach in an attempt to gain an in-depth understanding of the acculturation process for physical activity, diet, and drinking behavior among international students. Eighteen undergraduate international students (average age 19.20, standard deviation 1.21) were interviewed for 45-60 min. Most of the international students became more physically active after they arrived in the United States. Facilitators included accessibility, weight management, free time, and role modeling. Most international students were unsatisfied with the food on campus. Their strategies for adjusting to this included ordering food from restaurants, visiting supermarkets, and moving off campus. Most international students felt uncomfortable with the drinking culture in the United States, although some of them felt drinking was a good way to socialize with Americans and explore American culture. Colleges and universities should adopt strategies to better help their international students build lifelong healthy behaviors.