Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert J. Reese


The acculturation process for international students is influenced by several factors such as experiences of discrimination, economic condition, language fluency, and social support. Discrimination, which refers to negative or prejudicial behavior towards an individual or a group of individuals, takes place towards international students due to their poor grasp of the English Language (Lee & Rice, 2007), cultural differences (Cole & Ahmadi, 2003), and racial differences (Hanassab, 2006). Perceived discrimination (among other factors) has been identified as a potential moderator of the relationship between acculturation preferences and psychological functioning in acculturation theory (Berry, 2003). Apart from perceived discrimination, gender has also been recognized as predicting adjustment among international students (Lee, Park, & Kim, 2009). This study investigated the role perceived discrimination plays in the relationship between acculturation orientation and psychological functioning (i.e., depression and global life satisfaction), and the influence gender has on the relationship between acculturation orientation and psychological functioning among international students from South Asia and South East Asia. A series of mediational and moderational analyses were performed with hierarchical multiple regression analyses. The mediation effect of perceived discrimination on the relationship between acculturation orientation and psychological functioning was not significant for either factors of psychological functioning. While the interaction between identification with host culture and gender did not predict depression, it predicted global life satisfaction (GLS). Specifically, men who identified with their host culture had higher global life satisfaction scores. However, the interactions between identification with heritage culture and gender did not predict depression or global life satisfaction. The findings suggest that the Berry’s (2003) acculturation model may not fit for international students. Future research on acculturation orientation as a variable mediating the relationship between perceived discrimination and psychological functioning is recommended.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)