Intercultural Stressors of Chinese Immigrant Students: Voices of Chinese-American Mental Health Professionals

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Abstract

This qualitative study explored Chinese American mental health professionals’ perspectives on intercultural stressors in Chinese immigrant students’ environments and culturally sensitive interventions. Fourteen female mental health professionals, namely school psychologists, counselors, and clinical psychologists, ages 25 to 55, with first-hand experience working with Chinese immigrant school-age children, were interviewed. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed. Verbatim transcripts were coded and analyzed by the coding- and theme-generating methods developed by Nastasi and Borja (2015). Results yielded 12 general and 6 culture-specific themes of stressors. Nine of the 18 themes generated from the interviews align with the stressors identified in the current literature on stress for Chinese immigrant children, including language barriers, cultural conflicts between home and school, parent–child conflicts attributable to differential pace of acculturation, conflicts between collectively oriented parents and individualistically oriented children, racial discrimination, cultural stereotype, misunderstanding, marginalization, and difficulties fitting into the Euro American culture. Most of the identified themes include intercultural stressors. Nine themes emerged in the participants’ recommendations for building culturally appropriate home and school environments to address the stated stressors. The findings provide multicultural knowledge to inform interventions for Chinese and other immigrant students.

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